Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Nine-banded Armadillo and the number 4

  Nine-banded Armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus...Gotta love that genus name) are all about 4s.  Everything about them seems to revolve around the number 4.  Of course they have 4 legs but beyond that.....

1. population increases seem to run in 4 year cycles
2. they have a maximum of 4 young at birth all of the same sex.
3. they only live 4 years
5. they only have 4 toes on the front feet
6. they only have  4 feet of small intestines
7. They have been reported to spring into the air
up to 4 feet when surprised suddenly.  This habit of jumping upwards when startled accounts for many of the belly up critters one sees on the highways.
8. after blastocyst (delayed implantation) the gestation period lasts 4 months
9. young are fully capable of walking after 4 hours of birth.
10  content of inherit debris of their diet amounts to ~4% (sand etc.).
11.  burrows avg. 4 ft. in depth.
12. they only have 4 major predators...Cars, Man, Coyotes and Mountain Lions.
13. Since their expansion started in the early 1900's, they are
reportedly moving north at about 4 km per year (Walsh 1975)
14. Young are usually born in April the 4th month of the year.

 Another interesting fact is their teeth lack any enamel at and
wear down quickly which likely limits their age to 4 years. They have the potential, rarely, of  being hosts of trypanosomiasis, which can be passed to humans potential via it's exposure to the blood sucking insects, vector, in burrows that belong  to the genus Triatoma (Cone-nosed or Kissing Bugs)

  15.  Getting down to the meat of it now, slow baking an Armadillo for 4 hours with potatoes and carrots will provide 4 people a succulent, bacony tasting and very greasy southern dish. During the Great Depression many knew them as "Hoover Hogs" and many of them filled bellies.I tasted a plate many years ago.
...swimming in buttery fat.
  16.  A serving of Armadillo will likely provide you with 4 times the recommended amount of  cholesterol one should ingest in a single day.

   If you have other "4s" I can add them .

Brush Freeman