Farmer John and I were driving home from a parts run recently when we saw the critter pictured below, digging busily alongside the road. We had never before seen a live armadillo in our area of Kansas:
My husband has a delighted interest in all wildlife, but when confronted with this unique-to-us sight he exhibited even more than his usual amount of enthusiasm. He slammed on his brakes right smack in the middle of the country highway, cut a U-turn, and rolled up just a few feet from the hapless varmint, who exhibited no alarm at the approach of a human being. If had known my husband as I do, he might have shown a little more concern.
But the armadillo ignored us and continued his foraging.
John whistled shrilly and the little guy jerked upright, then froze.
He held this position without moving, perhaps thinking himself camouflaged. "Ohhhh, if I only had the cooler in the back," said John longingly. Danny (our grandson) would be the only kid on the block with his own armadillo.
I spoke sternly, "I am certain it is against the law to capture an armadillo (I am certain of no such thing but at need I am a convincing liar). In the same tone (and with the same lack of background knowledge) I continued, "And armadillos carry salmonella in their, um, plating." I stumbled a little here and John recognized uncertainty.
"I'm going to pick him up!" he proclaimed.
"You are not!" I said.
At that moment we heard the approach of another vehicle and we both got back into the car. As we pulled away John was still expressing regret, "He was such a cute little guy."
"A funny fellow," I said.
"Me, or the armadillo?" John asked.
"Both of you," I said. "Definitely both of you."
Note: Several comments on this post's link on my Facebook page have warned that infected Armadillos can carry leprosy. Please recognize that Farmer John's goal was to tease his wife, and that he did not seriously intend to pick up or transport wildlife, leprous or otherwise. No armadillos were interfered with in the creating of this blog post.