armadillo hunt

Sunday, February 16th
Green Flamingo Organics
Oak Hill, FL

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Sunday and Monday are days of rest on the GFO farm, so we decided to do some exploring, after getting the morning chicken-chores done – and finding a mysteriously-dead hen in the nesting box at the “POW Camp” coop.

Once we got off the farm, we started our day at our favorite local coffee shop – the surf themed Chuckyta’s in New Smyrna Beach, where we got caffeinated and studied some aerial imagery up of the nearby wildlife refuge, finding some interesting-looking backwoods roads to nowhere, where we’d be likely to find neat things and be able to let the dogs run off leash without any other pesky humans around.

drawbridge blocking our exit from New Smyrna Beach
drawbridge blocking our exit from New Smyrna Beach

When we got into the refuge, we quickly discovered that almost every trail and sideroad were blocked, with signs saying the Area was Closed. After much probing we discovered a promising looking, gated sideroad that lacked such signage – only saying that motorized traffic was prohibited. So we parked on the side of the road and hiked in with the lunches we’d packed, finding a nice sandy spot in the woods to sit down and eat.

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Once we were filled up with sandwiches, leftover food from the Valentines day event, and fresh tangerines, we hiked deep past another of the Area Closed signs, finding ourselves in an interesting post-wasteland environment – scrubby palmettos and local plants, sandy areas everywhere, studded with strange assortments of rusty metal, beaten up plastic, and broken glass.

Given that we were on the “Space Coast,” near the Kennedy Space center and Cape Canaveral (we could hear weird explosions occasionally) we entertained the theory that we were in a NASA landfill, where old shuttles and such had been dozer-crushed to pieces and buried in the off-limit sands.

obviously a piece of the Challenger
obviously a piece of the Challenger

We collected fragments to bring home and decorate with for a bit, but soon got quite distracted by the force that had been bringing all these bits of buried debris to the surface for us to find – the army of armadillos that were all around us, feasting on the ants that lived everywhere beneath the sands.

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None of the four of us had ever been around armadillos before, and we didn’t know what to expect when we came upon the first one.

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After getting close and not getting an aggressive response, Widget threw caution to the wind, and gave chase.

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The armadillo didn’t seem too concerned, and mosied over to safety in the palmettos.

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armadillo burrow with a palm frond dragged partway in
armadillo burrow with a palm frond dragged partway in
dogs checking out the burrow
dogs checking out the burrow

 

Widget running through the woods like a crazything, hunting armadillos
Widget running through the woods like a crazything, hunting armadillos

P1090503dogs finding another armadillo on the trail

dogs finding another armadillo on the trail
wild oranges!
wild oranges
look closely and you can see it squirting all over Gabe's shirt
look closely and you can see it squirting all over Gabe’s shirt
Widget in 'time out' after refusing to listen in her armadillo-hunting frenzy
Widget in ‘time out’ after refusing to listen in her armadillo-hunting frenzy

 

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When the sun started setting down to the treeline, we headed back to the car, finding a radar missile defense station down a nearby Area Closed spur.

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We got back to the farm and went to the chicken coop, intending to bury the dead chicken as Liz had asked us to do via text. When we arrived, the chicken in the roosting box was already buried … but a different chicken was dead on the ground nearby, again without any obvious signs of trauma, and with no sign of predatory invasion.

We texted Liz the news, and buried the new mysteriously-dead chicken.

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One thought on “armadillo hunt”

  1. Overly caution Chris says abandoned armadillo homes are favorite among the likes of (insert every poisonous snake in the southern US here)

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