Texas Speedbumps, Pocket Dinosaurs, Tiny Tanks, whatever you call them armadillos are here in Missouri, and people are spotting them in most areas of Missouri, usually dead, on their backs with paws up along the side of the road.

I saw one for the first time a couple of years ago, alive, in my backyard. I nicknamed him Arnie. Arnie the armadillo. Sadly Arnie didn't grace me with his presence again and the others I've seen have been dead.

Well maybe... this one time on my move to Texas.... near Sayre, Oklahoma, some kind of blurry thing popped up in front of my car and took out the radiator, the front bumper, and turned my move from Indiana to Lubbock, Texas into one hell of a misadventure.

I don't know if it was a feral hog, or an armadillo jumping up in the road that my car hit. At first, we thought it was an armadillo. Then when we saw a little hair on the damaged bumper went with the feral hog. Now I'm not so sure.

I bring this up because these Texas Speedbumps have some hair between their "armored" bands, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. And even though the armadillo has short stubby legs, they like to jump up about three feet to scare predators, which includes vehicles coming in their direction. That seems to be one of their favorite things to do.

Which is why we see so many dead armadillos on the side of the road. And why perhaps it was armadillo hair on my bumper?

Speaking of dead armadillos, what got me thinking about these funky animals you wouldn't think we'd see in Missouri was this Reddit post by Gerbitt: "Fun fact- there are approximately 1.5 dead armadillos per mile between Springfield and Osceola on Highway 13."

And this, from another Redditor KiefPucks: "I was driving 50 East towards Warrensburg and passed 5 dead ones within a mile. Saw a dozen that stretch too and from."

That's really what's amazed me this spring, the ammount of dead armadillos on the road. It's like they're all over. I've seen more dead armadillos in Missouri than I ever did in Texas. And I spent a lot of time on the road in Texas, guess it wasn't the right part of Texas.

Anyway, you're lucky if you see a live armadillo because they're mainly nocturnal. But not that lucky. They enjoy eating ants, insects, and other creepy-crawly critters and can smell them up to six inches underground. That's cool. However, their sharp claws like to dig for dinner which can mess up lawns and gardens. Not to mention they excavate burrows to bear their young. So that pesky gopher in "Caddyshack" has nothing on an armadillo.

Armadillos aren't going anywhere anytime soon either, and are continuing to move north. The Missouri Department of Conservation says the species first came to Texas from Mexico in the 1850s and has moved north since then. Extreme cold it is assumed, will limit just how far north they can go, yet surprisingly they keep on keeping on.

MDC Urban Wildlife Biologist Erin Shank says large-scale landscape changes are part of why they've been able to keep expanding northward, and at this point they're considered native to Missouri since they migrated here on their own.

I leave you with this joke from Redditor Mesa Dixon, "Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the armadillo that could be done."

Watch out for those Texas Speedbumps!

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