Monday, 18 October 2010


An armadillo from Texas. My sender lives in Canyon a small city south of Amarillo, so this could be an armadillo from Amarillo, I am hoping so, however my sender says although there are some around they tend to live further south.  There are 20 species of armadillo but all but one live in Latin America. They are differentiated by the number of bands on their armour so this is the only North American species, a Nine banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus).

The card says that "Armadillo means 'little armoured one', in Spanish, originally came to Texas from Mexico. Today the armadillo is the unofficial mascot for Texas".  The Aztec name for them was Azotochtli which means 'turtle-rabbit'.

An ancient species whose nearest relatives are anteaters and sloths, and in common with them are insectivores with sticky tongues, who also like long lie ins, sleeping for up to 16 hours a day.  They have poor eyesight but a keen sense of smell and also their hair is very sensitive like a cat's whiskers. Only one species of Armadillo can curl up for protection but not this northern species, however it has no natural predators.  It does get killed on roads though because when startled it jumps in the air, not the best defence for a speeding car. With a touch of black humour the Americans refer to these as  'Hillbilly speed bumps'.    

The card is a great close-up showing the sharp claws they use for digging up grubs and making their dens, which tend to be near creaks and streams. Although they have short legs they can move quickly.  I have read that they can stay underwater for up to six minutes. Now you would think that someone covered in armour wouldn't go near water but apparently they can inflate their stomach and intestines increasing in size allowing it to cross narrow bodies of water.  Their body temperature is the same as humans but have a low metabolic rate which means that bad weather can wipe out whole populations so although they are expanding their range the warm south is where these cute creatures will be staying.
The card came with a nice selection of this years stamps, I have received quite few of the Animal Rescue adopt a shelter pet dogs and cats, but so far they have all been different, how good is that.

This card travelled 4,634 miles (7457K) and took 6 days.  Thank you Preston 

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