from sky to seed

My diller killer

Armadillos aren’t native to Missouri, but we’re seeing them come in droves. Blame global warming. Or deny global warming. But the fact of life is that these grunty little suckers here, and now we’ve got to deal with them.

If an armadillo sneaks in during the night and settles down in your suburban quarter acre backyard, your biggest problem is a couple of unsightly holes and some dug up rose bushes in their relentless pursuit of grubs. When they reproduce, they birth quintuplets, so I hear. So if you have a vegetable garden or pretty bushes or a nice smooth green lawn, kiss that goodbye, or hurry up and call animal control.

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In the country, however, on a cattle farm with a couple hundred acres to manage, it’s simply not feasible to drop mothballs into an unsightly armadillos hole. Their holes are gigantic, and can cause serious injuries if livestock drop their gangly little legs into them and snap their ankles apart. So we kill them.

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Jon’s no killer, but he does take a kind of preverse, exquisite joy in armadillo hunting. We use guns and four-wheelers for the task, but I suppose you can just as easily go on foot. They don’t seem to have evolved to worry about predators because you can get within just a few feet of them, even with a dog, before they scram. We don’t eat them, though I hear you can. I also hear they carry leprosy, but what do I know?

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If I had to peg it down, I’d say Jon dedicates a good two or three evenings a week hunting armadillos. It’s sort of charming, I guess. At the very least, I love to see him with that gun slung over his shoulder, just a boy again.

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