March 27th, 2006
Urban Nature

photo: armadillo
2006-03-27. Armadillo grubbing in the early morning hours in my garden. Sadly I couldn’t get close enough for a clear shot without scaring it.

What do the following things have in common?
1. Famous venue for redneck rock (progressive country) music.
2. Texas state mammal (small).
3. Free bus system in downtown Austin.
4. Mascot for the Statesman Capitol 10,000.

by M Sinclair Stevens

6 Responses to post “Urban Nature”

  1. From jenn:

    Your large state mammal isn’t even indigenous?

    That sort of boggles me.

    Armadillos and hedgehogs. Love these guys. Curl up to say ‘leave me be’…

    Is that a nine-banded armadillo?

    Yep, Jenn, it’s Dasypus novemcinctus: the nine-banded armadillo. Armadillos hail from further south and only the nine-banded armadillo found its way north to Texas, so it’s not a native. There was quite a bit of argument about what mammal should represent the great state of Texas. The longhorn steer has strong historical and economic associations. But Texas school-children campaigned strongly for the armadillo. So a compromise was reached and we have both a small and large state mammal. In 1995, because Austin hosts the largest urban bat colony in North America, the Mexican free-tailed bat was designated the state flying mammal. — mss

  2. From entangled:

    I had to Google it, but they just don’t look like mammals somehow, do they. More like something that forgot to die off with the dinosaurs.

    Ahh…something like a Tarkus. (Still one of my favorite albums). — mss

  3. From Judith:

    Armadillos are so ‘Alice in Wonderland-looking’ to me. What a creature. Do they do pesty grubbing in the garden. (damage?. They are incredible, such a treat to see your photo. Interesting information about the school children campaigning for the armadillo as state mammal.

    Judith, armadillos do dig around in the mulch looking for beetles, grubs, and ants. I used to blame the holes o. the squirrels, thinking that they were burying nuts. I haven’t noticed any damage to plants, though. I don’t use any pesticides and now that I know an armadillo lives nearby, I’m glad that I can provide a poison-free diet. And I get free pest control as a bonus. Cars are the armadillos greatest enemy. I lived in Austin for years before I saw an armadillo that wasn’t roadkill. So, I’m very excited to see one alive in my own garden. — mss

  4. From susan harris:

    This is just another example of why I love reading gardening blogs from other parts of the world. I can’t imagine seeing one of those things in my garden. And thanks for your edification about Luddites v. Neanderthals! Susan

    Susan, I’m glad you took it in the light-hearted way I meant it. Sometimes I sound crankier in print than I am…I just hate using emoticons to communicate a wink and a smile. — mss

  5. From Pam/Digging:

    Nice shot, mss. I saw one of these in broad daylight at Zilker Botanical Garden recently, grubbing around in the grass. It was a treat to watch, especially as it was not grubbing around in MY garden.

  6. From Akinobu Nakashima:

    I live in Usa-city in the south in Japan. Your blog was very useful to me.
    A picture of your blog was very beautiful, so I copied. Thank you very much.
    Please see my blog.