The Amazing Armadillo

[ Natural History ]

The Amazing Armadillo

Geography of a Folk Critter

By Larry L. Smith and Robin W. Doughty

This informative book traces the spread of the nine-banded armadillo from its first notice in South Texas late in the 1840s to its current range east to Florida and north to Missouri.

1984

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Paperback

5.5 x 8.5 | 148 pp. | 0 illustrated

ISBN: 978-0-292-70383-4

Perhaps no creature has so fired the imagination of a populace as the armadillo—that most ungainly, awkward, and timid little animal. Its detractors call it a varmint and wish it good speed from the Lone Star State and its other natural territories. But its supporters claim that it is the animal kingdom's representative of all that's truly Texan: tough, pioneering, adaptable, and generous in sharing its habitation with others. What is it that sets this quizzical little creature apart from the rest of the animal kingdom?

Larry L. Smith and Robin W. Doughty ably answer this question in The Amazing Armadillo: Geography of a Folk Critter. This informative book traces the spread of the nine-banded armadillo from its first notice in South Texas late in the 1840s to its current range east to Florida and north to Missouri. The authors look at the armadillo's natural history and habitat as well as the role of humans in promoting its spread, projecting that the animal is increasing in both range and number, continuing its ecological success in areas where habitat and climate are favorable.

The book also contributes to a long-standing research theme in geography—the relationship between humans and wildlife. It explores the armadillo's value to the medical community in current research in Hansen's Disease (leprosy) as well as commercial uses, and abuses, of the armadillo in recent times. Of particular note is the author's engaging look at the armadillo as a symbol of popular culture, the efforts now underway to make it a "totem animal" symbolizing the easy-going lifestyles of some Sunbelt cities, and the spread of the craze for armadilliana to other urban centers.

  • Introduction
  • 1. The Natural History of Armadillos
    • The Armadillo Family
    • Food Habits
    • Dens, Burrows, and Home Ranges
    • Reproduction and Longevity
    • Enemies
    • Pioneering Ability and Habitat Preferences
    • Climatic Barriers to Range Extension
  • 2. Distribution and Dispersal in the South
    • Invasion of Texas
    • Range Consolidation: Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma
    • Progress East of the Mississippi
    • Outlying Records
    • Future Trends
  • 3. Human Use of the Armadillo
    • The Apelt Armadillo Company
    • The San Angelo Connection
    • Predatory Armadillos
    • The Armadillo as Food
    • Armadillos in Medical Research
    • Humans and Armadillo Numbers
  • 4. The Armadillo in Popular Culture
    • Armadillo Racing
    • Going Home with the Armadillo
    • Armadillo Art and Artifacts
    • "Texas Chic"
    • The State Mammal
    • Ecological Considerations
  • 5. Armadillos Forever
  • Appendix. House Concurrent Resolution No. 53
  • Notes
  • Bibliography

By Larry L. Smith and Robin W. Doughty

Larry L. Smith traveled extensively throughout Texas and the southern United States researching the armadillo.

Robin W. Doughty, an Englishman by birth but a Texan by choice, is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin. He has authored nine books.