I thought my life was complete back in 2013 when I learned there were hirsute lobsters in this world. Little did I know, I wasn’t thinking big enough. Then yesterday, and I can’t even remember how, I discovered that the planet also contains screaming hairy armadillos.
Really. This is an actual thing. You can even hear what their screams sound like in this video.
This makes me so happy. I just love the diversity in this world! I love anything that reminds me that there is more than one way to live, behave, and look. And this cool little guy is rather in-your-face about it. I mean, how cute is this?
This dude sports a suit that screams (sorry, had to), “Don’t mess with me. Just admire my style.”
According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo website, these armadillos mostly live east of the Andes in the Monte Desert, in Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. They’re pretty solitary, and pretty small. They usually only get up to about 2 pounds, and are at most 16 inches long, if you don’t count their tails. (Incidentally, if you’re ever in Washington DC, I urge you to check out this zoo. It’s one of the best in the world, in my opinion. I’ve seen animals there that I didn’t even know existed before that.)
These creatures mostly chow down on plants, beetles and other insects, with the occasional lizard, frog, toad, bird or rodent just to shake things up a bit. They also seem to consume a lot of sand, and it’s unknown whether this is by accident or on purpose. Their stomach contents have been known to be as much as 50 percent sand.
If the diets of these armadillos didn’t tell you they were highly adaptable, their sleeping habits would. They tend to be nocturnal in the summer, and diurnal in the winter. They can also go long periods without drinking.
With a name like screaming hairy armadillos (which I could repeat a million times and still be smiling), you’d think they’d be rather annoying to live around. But in truth, the only time they scream, much like me, is when they’re mistreated or hassled. They occasionally grunt while foraging for food (also like me), but usually they’re pretty quiet and keep to themselves in their burrows. (Again, like me. Hmmm. This could be my spirit animal.)
Farmers do consider them to be pests, though, and in fact humans are their greatest threat. Not only are we degrading their habitat, but we also hunt them for their meat, and their shells are sometimes made into a guitar-like instrument called a charango.
Check out this concert:
I’m sorry. I’m thinking that that instrument’s sound, while pretty darned cool, is not so unique that it couldn’t be produced in a less grizzly fashion. Am I alone in this opinion? Humans suck.
Nature, on the other hand, is awesome. What a strange and delightful planet we inhabit. Next time I’m feeling down, or feeling like a freak, I plan to say to myself, “A world that has made room for screaming hairy armadillos can’t be all bad.”
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