9 Banded Awesomeness
When I was roughly 9 or 10, I became fascinated by armadillos. I couldn't tell you why - I don't remember. What I can tell you is that this is pre-interweb days, so everything I learned about them was the old-fashioned way... and it involved the Dewey Decimal System.
Here are a few fun facts:
Armadillos have the ability to remain underwater for as long as six minutes. Because of the density of its armor, an armadillo will sink in water unless it inflates its stomach and intestines with air, which often doubles its size and allows it to swim across narrow bodies of water.
Armadillos are carriers are leprosy.
Most species of armadillo have litters of identical quadruplets.
I have all kinds of armadillo paraphenalia - my favorite is a set of seven crudely carved marble armadillos from Mexico.
I also have a pewter armadillo pin that I should wear more often. Ditto my sterling James Avery armadillo earrings.
I have seen both live and dead armadillos - the former at age 10 on Cumberland Island, GA. The latter, I-40 en route to Waverly, TN today to do some training.
I prefer them live, to be honest.
Given their nickname, "Possums on the Halfshell", and my animosity toward possums, it's odd that I have such an affinity, but there you have it.
My old (old in the sense of former) shrink had a field day when he found out they were my favorite animal. Hard outer shell, soft pink underbelly... hmmm. Sounds...vaguely familiar.
That's your Earth Sciences Lesson for the day.
Go out and learn more! If you dare...