Monday, June 19, 2017

Armadillos, Snakes, and Red Bat

Silly armadillos!  We saw two groups of four armadillos recently, while working in west Tennessee.  I've read that armadillos have migrated their way to Kentucky lately, but I've never seen any.  When we first spotted these guys, we tried to be very quiet while we stalked them as they snuffled under the leaves and rotting logs.  They would frequently find something tasty, and stop to briefly chew and swallow before busily resuming their pig like search.  It wasn't long before we realized there was no need to be sneaky while we spied on them.  They must have terrible sight and hearing, or they are not afraid of humans, because we could talk and make noise and they didn't even notice.  Only when I reached out to touch one did it scurry under a log.  The tail I touched felt like a tough leather shoe.  

Google tells us that they have litters of four identical twins, so maybe the two groups we saw where all brothers or sisters.  They are known to eat ground nesting bees, like yellow jackets.  Hooray for armadillos, right?

Watch this short clip if you want to see the armadillos in action.  

Here's another shot of the rattlesnake from my video.  When I showed my boss the video of the rattlesnake, she said she took back the thoughts she had when she approved the request for snake gaiters for this job!  

Last week, during four nights of bat catching, this was the only bat we managed to catch in our nets.  It's a pretty red bat, which is one of the most common species.  Each night that we are surveying, we stay near our nets for five hours after sunset.  The nets get checked every ten minutes.  Five hours a night for four nights with only a single bat makes for a long survey!

After a rattlesnake encounter, all the other non venomous snakes seem so friendly!  I think this snake may be a black racer.

His tongue makes a cool shadow.  

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