The Armadillos Are Coming: I’ll Make the Chimichangas (and Anthony Bourdain is NOT Invited)

My favorite Texas State Mammal (often mistaken for a reptile, but no, it’s a mammal) is making its way to DC, thanks to global warming (ummm, can we get some of that global warming stuff in my office? And by office, I mean prison cube.)

But back to the exciting news:

“It may sound absurd, but new reports show that the leathery, armored mammal from Texas is on the move and could soon take up residence in the Washington area.

Climate change is the culprit, reports the Daily Climate Web site, citing biologists’ claims that the armadillo’s northward expansion can be attributed to a warming atmosphere.”

Oh, hey, just a heads up my little armadillo friends: DC is cold as hell in the winter time. Like, butt tons of snow cold. You might want to bring some little tiny armadillo snow boots with you.

“The Museum of Life and Science in North Carolina adds that the armadillo’s lack of natural predators and Americans’ reluctance to hunt and eat them are also contributing factors.”

Ummm, again, a tiny heads up: Anthony Bourdain will definitely eat you. On the half shell. And your little friends, the guinea pigs too. So let’s just go ahead put a check in the box next to “natural predators” and an “x” in the box “Americans’ reluctance to hunt and eat them.” Lazy work, Museum of Life and Science. Geeze. Watch an episode of No Reservations once in a while, will ya?

10 Fun Armadillo Facts (plus one about me):

1) Their name is Spanish for “little armored one.”

2) They have poor vision but large eyes. Well, that’s not going to help when Anthony Bourdain sneaks up on them to eat them.

 3) Despite popular belief, most armadillo species cannot roll up because they have too many armor plates.

 4) Armadillos can remain underwater for as long as six minutes.

 5) BUT because of the density of its armor, an armadillo will sink in water unless it inflates its stomach and intestines with air, which often doubles its size and allows it to swim across narrow bodies of water. Dang. That would be so handy when your boyfriend makes you learn to scuba dive in Puerto Rico and Australia. *Just kidding, baby. I’m sure I’ll love sinking to the bottom of the ocean with a bahzillion pounds of metal and oxygen on my back and depending on a tube for air. Should come totally naturally to one as clumsy as myself.

 6) Armadillos are often used in the study of leprosy since they are among the few known non-human animal species that can contract the disease systemically, mostly because of their unusually low body temperature.

7) And, unfortunately, they can pass the disease on to humans. Which is a fact I actually DID know, and which bums me out. I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to pick up a wild armadillo, only to have someone buzzkill me with, “You know they carry leprosy, DON’T YOU?” As if I’m the crazy one.

Why does this dude get to hold an armadillo and I don't?

)8) Also, (and I’m looking at you Anthony Bourdain) leprosy can be contracted from eating armadillos. Sooooo….you should cut that out. Seriously, if I’m not allowed to manhandle them, you’re not allowed to eat them.

Hmmm, I'll take a side of leprosy and a heaping helping of Anthony Bourdain, please.

9) Armadillo shells had traditionally been used to make the back of some Andean lute instrument called the charango. Not to be confused with the delicious and non-leprosy-carrying chimichanga.

No leprosy here, but I can't account for the tortilla chips. They look like they've got something wrong with them.

10) OK, this one isn’t an armadillo fact, it’s more about me: One of my favorite books is “A Prayer for Owen Meany” (amazing, awesome book) where a stuffed armadillo plays a very significant role. Made me want a stuffed armadillo pretty badly.

11) And according to the Daily Climate Web site, armadillos are highly reproductive little critters.

“The female will give birth to 4 young at a time and they are all identical to each other.  The quadruplets come from one fertilized egg which splits into 4 separate embryos which then develop alongside each other and result in a litter of 4 which will nurse from their mother for approximately 3 months and stay with her for between 6 months to a year.  They can breed at one year old, and every year thereafter for the rest of their 12-15 year lifespan.  One female can give birth to over 50 young, which is why their population is growing so quickly.”

Blowing. My. Mind. That’s like, Octomom territory.  

So welcome, my little Texan friends. Come to my house for delicious chimichangas.