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No. 131: SEP-OCT 2000

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Beware of Rapidly Ascending Armadillos

After watching armadillos awkwardly snuffling for tidbits, one might conclude that these "little armored ones" are not too bright and certainly no threat to humans. But armadillos possess a remarkable defense mechanism you should be aware of. Not all of them curl up into tight, nigh-impenetrable balls when threatened as the field guides promise us. Instead, some suddenly jump straight up -- as much as 8 feet high! Woe be to anyone hovering over armadillos favoring this type of defense. Broken noses, loosened teeth, and black eyes have been inflicted by these armored projectiles.

Armadillo
Another unexpected habit of the armadillo is its crossing of small streams by walking along the bottom underwater. It can swim if necessary and gains buoyancy by filling its intestines with air. (From Biological Anomalies: Mammals I)

(White, Robb; "Armadillos, and Dangerous," Natural History, 109:86, July-August 2000.)

From Science Frontiers #131, SEP-OCT 2000. 2000 William R. Corliss

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