Shaw Nature Reserve Gets Visitor from the Natural Armored Division

November 8, 2015

If you attended the annual art show at Shaw Nature Reserve this weekend, you probably saw the armadillo that has taken up residence near the Dana Brown Center. Dubbed “Tank” by SNR staff, the armored critter tends to come out for some grub(s) every day around noon, when the warmth of the sun is most desirable for the southern visitor. Unfortunately, noon is about the worst time possible to photograph wildlife due to harsh light, but I thought I’d take a shot on Friday. The featured image reveals the hairy connection between the cuddly critter’s head and torso, leathery ears, armored head, and a bit of the mosaic armor that helps this animal to resist predators.



A long shot of Tank, reveals the nine, movable bands that girdle the creature’s armor, allowing some articulation in its otherwise rigid torso. As you can see from the image, even the tail of the armadillo is protected by armor.



This image provides a close look at the amazing claws of the armadillo that allow them to dig about anywhere. Armadillos sometimes dig out their own dens which are attractive to other animals that aren’t so industrious.



The final image shows the armadillo in a demure pose on a ridge line above my position. As with almost every shot, the armadillo hid its eyes from the sun, and subsequently my lens, and rarely stopped moving.

Although Missouri is in the northern part of the nine-banded armadillo’s range, sightings continue to move northward as far as the Missouri/Iowa border. People often ask how armadillos get across rivers. I once saw one crossing the Meramec River bridge at St. Clair, almost 25 years ago!

Who knows how long ole Tank will stick around to assist the SNR staff with soil aeration and other duties as assigned. I know one of those duties has been to delight and educate children who have recently visited the center as part of their school programs. I think the friendly little creature was a great hit this weekend at the art show, as well.

Thanks for looking,

Danny Brown

Email:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Website:  Danny’s Website

7 comments on “Shaw Nature Reserve Gets Visitor from the Natural Armored Division”

  1. Oh, wow. Thank you for sharing this wonderful being!

  2. Hi. Danny, I am amazed at the range, that the Armadillo has. I have seen them up in Iowa, along side the road, but I have never had the opportunity to see one, in a vertical position. They are a very interesting to look at, however, I do know that they can do a lot of damage to a yard. Great pictures. Thank’s for sharing.


  3. I have never seen one alive, and in a vertical position. They always have been lying along side the road. I have seen them as far North, as Iowa. It’s amazing to see one up close. They are a very interesting animal. Thank’s for sharing,


  4. Very cool, Danny! Glad you got some good shots of this to share with us.

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