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Monday, March 12, 2012

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Surprising Things About Armadillos

1. Armadillos are most closely related to anteaters (not super-duper surprising) and sloths (much more surprising!).

2. There are lots of kinds of armadillos. The tiniest ones are called pink fairy armadillos and they're only five or six inches long from nose to tail. The biggest ones are five feet!

3. Armadillos caught leprosy from humans when European explorers brought the disease to the Americas in the 15th century and now a bunch have it and can give it back to us! What!? But that also means armadillos can be used to study leprosy in humans, so there's that.



82 Comments / Post A Comment

Tragically Ludicrous

IT'S FLUFFY INSIDE. Look at that!

Emby

@Tragically Ludicrous It looks like a hamster crossed with a shrimp. A shrimster. Or a Hrimp.

null

@Tragically Ludicrous OH MY GOD.

olivebee

@Emby That is EXACTLY what it looks like. Shrimsters: coming soon to PetCo.

Apocalypstick

@Tragically Ludicrous Ahhh I need one in my life if I told children it was a Martian they would believe it.

EpWs

@Emby I just snorted in a most unattractive fashion. But you're RIGHT, you are SO RIGHT.

MrsLlama

@Emby DISTURBED AND INTRIGUED

Ophelia

The ones in that picture look like Popples!!

Maria

@Ophelia Armadillos: what happens when a transformer and a Popple make bad decisions together.

frigwiggin

Three-banded are where it's at. No doubt. (Also, what about pangolins?)

wharrgarbl

@figwiggin Aren't pangolins actually more closely related to like civet cats (which is super-weird all by itself)?

Ophelia

@figwiggin ....aaaand I just fell down an internet hole of pangolin photos.

frigwiggin

@wharrgarbl Probably, I just like 'em and wanted to share the armored-animal love. (It makes about as much sense as the fact that hyenas--another favorite of mine--are closely related to mongooses!)

mustasheo

@figwiggin Three-banded definitely win for living, but Glyptodons are my all-time fave.

Monkey

@figwiggin Hyenas mongooses mind blown what how is that even a thing.

wharrgarbl

@mustasheo I want there to be some movie where it's the Old West, but instead of horses everybody's riding glyptodons. They are so awesome.

queenieliz

@figwiggin WHAT?! I thought they are dogs?

gobblegirl

@Monkey Other exciting hyena facts: Female hyenas are very dominant, and their genitalia has evolved to look like a fake penis...through which they give birth.

frigwiggin

@queenieliz Nope! They're not canines at all, despite the appearance.

@gobblegirl Hyena genitalia is one of my favorite things about nature. What a wide, exciting world we live in.

wharrgarbl

@gobblegirl That's not a fake penis. That's what happens to ladyparts on megadoses of testosterone. It's also kind of an infinite feedback loop, because the higher the testosterone levels of the hyena's cubs, the earlier the boys will start humping away. Because it takes some doing to successfully mate with a lady hyena due to the aforementioned phallic vagina, they're more likely to succeed as soon as they're fully mature and doing it for real.

@queenieliz They aren't! They're not even close!

Monkey

@gobblegirl YES love crazy hyena genitalia. The best.

NeverOddOrEven

@Ophelia Me too! I fucking love you guys.

Seriously though. Maybe I shoudl go back to school and study biology...

EpWs

@everyone Long-eared Jerboa, bitches. (Filed under "things that cannot possibly be things BUT ARE")

mustasheo

@wharrgarbl YES. There would be so much waddling. The chase scenes!

ilikemints

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Long-eared Jerboa WHAT. It looks like a pokemon. Also I want one to cuuudddle foreeever.

Xanthophyllippa

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I would SO cuddle that.

Mingus_Thurber

@wharrgarbl I love me some Pangolins. All shapes and sizes are welcome here forever.

Shayna

@figwiggin I swear there is a Pokemon that looks like that. It's a rat-type pokemon. I swear. ;_;

gtrachel

@Ophelia Ditto. Then I saw this photo of a lion trying to eat one, which looks about on par with eating a bowling ball in terms of feasibility. http://ferrebeekeeper.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/mark-sheridan-johnson.jpg

oeditrix

@figwiggin Those night miniature artist engineers are so freaking adorable.

miwome

@gobblegirl WHAT. I want one. YOU THERE, BRING ME THE FINEST HYRAX IN ALL THE LAND.

wharrgarbl

9-banded armadillos also always have identical quadruplets and will leap straight into the air if startled. Armadillos really are the best.

Ophelia

@wharrgarbl It's like what would happen if 7-year-old sci-fi writers made an animal.

wharrgarbl

@Ophelia The Germans in Texas called them Panzerschwein. 7-year-old sci-fi writers indeed.

queenieliz

@wharrgarbl ...new best band name ever! Panzerschwein! I'm envisioning a death metal/indie country hybrid.

EpWs

@wharrgarbl Attn: lurkers! If you want to come play with the commenters, there is a most excellent name up for grabs here! Oh, Germans.

Mingus_Thurber

@wharrgarbl Also, when they're digging around in your yard at night (or in your potted lavender, what's up with that, guys? Seriously!) they kind of hop like bunnies.

Years ago I had both a very large back yard and a rescued retired racing Greyhound. The G-hound, who was strong of body but not bright of brain, would go out in the evenings and bug the resident back-yard 'dillo. After a few weeks of leaping/curling up into a ball and being sniffed, the 'dillo decided that a stupid Greyhound wasn't that bad and started totally ignoring the dog. Watching a lanky Greyhound named after a famous futurist trail a totally unconcerned prehistoric-looking critter in the floodlights in the back yard was the Best Ever.

I'd much rather have armadillos in my yard than what I have now, which is opossums. Although 'possums don't carry rabies, they are STUPID, which results in them getting trapped in my recycling bin with empty bean cans over their heads. GAR to having to un-bean-can the same damn opossum over and over.

EpWs

@Mingus_Thurber HOPPING ARMADILLOS? You do live in a fairy tale, for serious.

Also, what did you name your Hund? (Please be Boccioni please be Boccioni!)

wharrgarbl

@Mingus_Thurber Armadillos dig with grubs and such, but they're not terrifically bright, so I guess it's just your lavender and not your a/c ducts? I do not care for possums, though. They're innocuous, but oh my are they ugly and ungainly. Why did North America get the ugly possums?

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher They are so ungainly that they tend to shuffle, hop, or bound. It is adorable.

Mingus_Thurber

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher The Greyhound's name was Bucky, after Buckminster Fuller. Sorry.

chapstick

Yeah, about the leprosy: Seriously, DO NOT TOUCH wild armadillos. Especially roadkill. People around here (Texas) seem to know that, but we had some new kid try to bring in an armadillo from recess and everyone started freaking out.

Also in almost every 'Texas Memorabilia' store they have a taxidermy-ed armadillo drinking a Lone Star for sale.

TheBelleWitch

@chapstick Wait, was the recess armadillo alive??

The best thing about living in Texas is walking to the bathroom after dark in a campground and catching a glimpse of an armadillo scurrying away. And then, maybe because you've had a little too much Lone Star, tipsily chasing after the armadillo (from a safe, non-leprosy-transmitting distance! sorry little armadillo!). Anyway, I think armadillos are the reason people put up with the other crap required to live in Texas (the weather, Rick Perry).

EpWs

@chapstick I also want to hear more about the Recess Armadillo!

Xanthophyllippa

@TheBelleWitch But how do you avoid scorpions in the dark??

(Texas: Full of things that want to kill you.)

Texian

@chapstick The bottle of Lone Star is considered proper burial rites for an armadillo. Must show respect for the dead.

wharrgarbl

@Xanthophyllippa Scorpions are actually highly UV reflective! Just bring a black light, and they'll light up like the inside of a hippy's van.

gtrachel

@wharrgarbl For real? Because, whoa. That would freak the bejeezus out of me.

miwome

@wharrgarbl Holy fuck, really? They are both better and even worse to me, now.

hero worship

Leprosy in armadillos that is capable of being passed to humans is my go-to party fact. It also explains why I am so bad at parties=(

olivebee

@hero worship Do people avoid you...as if you have leprosy? Har har har.

No, but seriously. I love whipping out weird facts in group settings. I don't know if everyone else loves it, though.

olivebee

@olivebee I just realized making a joke about that expression is insensitive, and now I feel bad :(

Auntie Maim@twitter

@hero worship Follow-up fun fact: leprosy has never been cultured in vitro. It has to be grown in lab animals (armadillos or mice) in order to obtain samples for research.

Megasus

@Auntie Maim@twitter Well I guess it needs lots of living tissue to like...munch on?

oohdarling

@hero worship MINE TOO. I really bring the fun to social gatherings.

hero worship

@olivebee I thought it was funny. We should all join up to sit in corners at parties and exchange trivia.

willamina

@hero worship OMG I just created an account to say that my go-to party dating story is to talk about that one time in Texas when I was dating an armadillo rancher! He raised them for leprosy research and was a part-time Marty Robbins impersonator. He lived in a trailer near Luckenbach, TX and we used to drink 40s on the porch and watch the little armadillos run around. Ah, good times.

Mingus_Thurber

@willamina That is so cool my jaw just dropped. Wow. Armadillo rancher.

MissO

My only reference to armadillos is in Donkey Kong Country. Army the Armadillo, the enemy. The ones that roll up in a ball and attack you, and you need to jump on them twice. I mean, c'mon, I live in Canada, armadillos aren't really in our elementary school curriculum. That's the best I can do.

http://images.wikia.com/mario/images/a/a8/Army1.jpg

noReally

Can’t curl but can swim, Stickly-Prickly, that’s him! Curls up but can’t swim, Slow-Solid, that’s him!

All you need to know about the Beginning of Armadilloes, Best Beloved.

Kit Kat

Oh man, Armadillos. I'm from Oklahoma where we have a ton of these things. You see them out a night eating bugs from people's lawns. Like another commenter said, people love to taxidermy them drinking from beer cans for some reason.
Also I totally know a person who got leprosy from an armadillo.

SheWhoReadsInSkirts

armadillo-dillo-dillo, armadillo-o-o-o-uh-oh.

Jane Marie

@SheWhoReadsInSkirts I read this and thought "Under my armadillo-illo-illo, ay, ay, ay."

Megasus

IT LOOKS LIKE A POKEMON WHEN IT'S ALL IN A BALL LIKE THAT OMG

redheaded&crazy

my first and only thought was A-A-R-D-V-A-R-K! Arthur style yo.

Then I realized i'm an idiot because it's not even the same at all.

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazy and then I shared that fascinating thought with the world.

EpWs

@redheaded&crazy And this is why we love you.

Marzipan

@redheaded&crazy Ahhhh I remember that episode VIVIDLY. Now you've got it stuck in my head, his little jingle to remember it for the spelling bee (that's where you're at, right?). I remember younger me being, "And he IS an aardvark, and it's the only word he knows how to spell, that's like, irony, right?"

And now I just thought about how I actually don't know what aarkvarks look like, because Arthur so very much did not resemble ANYTHING, really. So I googled it. THEY CRAZY! So cool. Arthur is a smirch on the honor/interestingness of aardvarks everywhere.

My first thought (before these amazing ones I also felt compelled to share) was actually, "ECHIDNA! I KNOW WEIRD FACTS ABOUT ECHIDNAS, let's do those next!"

redheaded&crazy

@Marzipan that is exactly where I'm at! so glad I'm not the only one who watched that show :P

I didn't even realize he was an aardvark! I just learned something new about my favourite childhood show, ARTHUR!

anachronistique

@Marzipan I love the Arthur books but HE DOES NOT LOOK LIKE AN AARDVARK AT ALL. Children's literature lying to us once again.

wharrgarbl

@Marzipan Yeessss. Echidnas.

yeah-elle

@Marzipan I could have sworn he was an anteater? But wikipedia tells me he is an aardvark. But the books, one of the books was titled "Arthur the Anteater." Also: How does an anteater OR an aardvark have a pet dog?

WaityKatie

I knew about the pink fairy! I am unreasonably proud of this.

brilliantmistake

Male armadillos have a penis that is 2/3s their body length!

tea tray in the sky.

Ah! The curled-up one looks like a Pokeball.

Thing I want to share: When I play Pokemon (which I always do), my main character is always named A Lady and the rival is A Dude.

oh well never mind

Oh no my pangolin picture and I are late to the party! But I just wanted to show my admiration for this post. This + Interview with an Element = yay Facts!

oeditrix

Is this for SXSW? Because I'll have you know that you can go DAYS in Texas without seeing an armadillo.

Sometimes they get scared and they just pop straight up in the air with all their hair and their claws sticking out. This is very cute, but it is one reason why there are a lot of armadillos on the side of the road. Like, you're not going to scare the car away, armadillo. It's not going to be intimidated by your tactics.

KatnotCat

4. When I was a child, my younger brother and I found a dead armadillo with a gun shot wound in its side in the woods. We treated it as a "pet," naming it, revisiting it and occasionally poking it with a stick for about a week. After describing it to our mother, we were banned from that small section of the woods for a few days due to leprosy concernes.
I later found out one of our redneck neighbors had shot it from their truck when it was walking across the cul-de-sac and that is how it came to wander it to the woods and die. He insisted it had been trying to "get inside" another neighbor's house, which is why he had to shoot it.

Elsajeni

An armadillo came to my wedding! My best wedding picture is of my husband pointing at the armadillo's dainty little feet and (you can tell by his face) saying "EEE!"

Sensory Homoncula

a charming southern lady of my acquaintance one remarked that an armadillo was nothing but a possum in a shell. I was living in Arkansas at the time, and the armadillo roadkill was shocking. literally every quarter-mile you would find an armadillo on the road.

she also expressed confusion about why the second hand on a clock was called the second hand because it was clearly the third hand.

Filmes Online

nice post, there should be more sites like this, thank you!
Filmes Online

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