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Friday, January 13, 2017

"The Armadillo Show" at Highlands Hammock Campground

There's a Nine-Banded Armadillo across the camp road from where Eric and I are staying.  This is one of twenty species in the "Armadillo Family." These armored creatures originated in South America and are considered an invasive species in Florida.  Armadillos escaped from zoos and traveling circuses and started to breed.....  

Ancestors of Armadillos migrated through Mexico and spread....  These prehistoric looking creatures live in more states than I realized... New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Georgia and, of course, Florida.

I am surprised to see an
Armadillo out in the

For some reason, I thought that Armadillos are shy creatures that hide in the brush.  Cars drive by and this Armadillo continues gathering leaves.

This Armadillo has an audience
of campers watch the short
legged creature  gather up leaves.

Even though Armadillos look like they could be chubby reptiles, they are mammals.  Gestation is from three to four months.  The pups are nursed for three months and then forage for food with their mother.  By the time an Armadillo is twelve months old, it's mature and starts mating.

It stands on its hind
feet as it gathers more
& more leaves.

Everyone who watches "The Armadillo Show" does so at a respectful distance.  We don't want to harm the wildlife we see here at Highlands Hammock State Park.

There's a health related reason for not picking up or handling any Nine-Banded Armadillo.  This particular species spreads Leprosy bacteria.  Humans and Armadillos are the only mammals who can contract this disease.  My advice, admire these armored creatures from a distance.

The leaves are dragged to
the nearby Saw Palmetto.
Campers watched the Armadillo repeatedly gather leaves and bring them to the low-growing palm shrubbery.  We all marveled at "the show."  Is this Armadillo nest building?

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