Bud the Armadillo

There were two armadillos that frequented our property. One was a small armadillo; quick and very people shy. The other one was a large armadillo with a signature puncture in the side of its shell that seemed to have healed long ago. He had something like a keloid hanging out of it but there was no open wound. I wondered whether a big cat had gotten a hold of him and made the hole with a fang, wretched kids had made the hole with a power tool, or a car tire had somehow made the hole, though it seemed much more likely that a car tire would make a crack instead. I hadn’t the slightest idea what this huge lumbering armadillo had encountered in his past to give him such a souvenir but it let me know that it was the same armadillo each time i saw him/her. Armadillos don’t have the best hearing or eyesight and so if i was even semi careful i could often go right up to it before it knew i was there. As i prepared the property for the winter storm the front clouds confirmed was coming the armadillo that i had begun calling buddy (bud for short) appeared and solved the mystery of how my brush pile was being strewn about the property. I would find bits and pieces of branches i knew i had put on the brush pile 150 feet away from where i’d left them. I wondered what animal was dragging my sticks around, until i noted Bud in the middle of the brush pile. Termites and carpenter ants liked to get into the rotted branches and stumps i left there. I guessed they were what Bud was after, if not all the critters that enjoyed the moisture between the branches and the earth beneath them. I watched him upturn a piece of wood i’d left there, nudge it with his snout, and roll it across the yard, eating whatever bugs fell out along the way. This was how my branch had gone from one side of the yard to the other. All over the property were holes where the earth looked like it had been aerated. I guessed Bud was getting a last minute meal in before the storm hit. With all the noise he was making in the dry grass i knew the dogs would detect him as soon as i let them out. I did all the chores i could before it was time to let the dogs out for their evening potty break and i could put it off no longer. I had a plan though. I opened the door to the dog run and went to the house to get them. I gave the command to go to the dog run and then all the way there i continued to bark the order as if i didn’t believe they would follow through. They ran to the dog run. All my noise drowned out Bud’s rustling in the grass and the dogs didn’t know he was there until the door swung shut and they were in. They commenced barking at him but he was safely out of the dogs’ reach where he was and continued digging. Bud the Armadillo would have himself a substantial snack before the weather hit. There he sat dismantling my brush pile. I thought, “he is such a curious creature. He looks so very much like a tiny dinosaur.” When i became cold i left him and went inside.

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