My house has a history with armadillos. In fact, the name of my next book, currently in the production stages, is “The Armadillo, The Pickaxe, and the Laundry Basket,” based on the time when an armadillo tunneled its way into my bedroom one night. As it turned out, the armadillo and his army of armadillo buddies had torn down all the duct work in the crawl space in my house and used the resultant hole to climb in by bedroom to do whatever it is that armadillos do when they find themselves on berber carpet.
So you will forgive us if we don’t particularly care for armadillos in our yard. I know they are here because, well, if looks are any indication, they are dinosaur remnants and have been here for thousands of years, if not millions, and that technically I put my house on their land, but, well, I’d like to think there are some privileges that come with being the dominant predator on the planet and the top of each and every food chain.
I’m not a vegetarian. Anyone who remembers so fondly the foodgasm she had while eating a rack of lamb at the Georgia Pine can’t exactly complain about killing animals. Still, I believe we shouldn’t just kill for goofers, and if you’re going to kill it you should at least try to eat it. I think about that from time to time when I flick a Daddy Long Legs into oblivion just because it is tickling my arm. What right do I have to kill another being just because it irritates me? Well, it isn’t like I can look a horsefly in its eye(s) and explain to it that I will live and let live if it just quits buzzing by my ear and promises not to bite. Insects don’t bargain or understand. I mean, we’re all God’s critters and whatnot, but I’ll bet even God smacks a mosquito if it lands on His Holy Face.
But back to the armadillos. Lately, we’ve been finding a suspicious number of armadillo-sized tunnels in our yard near our house. Given what it cost us to replace the duct work last year, and given the proximity of the holes to the in-ground posts and poles that prevent our house from sinking into the ground and/or falling over, those holes are no bueno. Likewise, the buggers that dig them are even less bueno.
Last night, my husband and I were rocking and swinging in our respective seats on our porch, ducking when the bats that live behind our shutters flew out to eat bugs, and listening to the night birds and making small talk. My husband doesn’t hear very well, which probably explains the volume of his speaking voice, and the fact that he is surprised that his humming to himself drowns out any other noise in the house. I, however, can hear perfectly well. Therefore, I heard a skritch-skritch-scritch and the sound of dirt landing on leaves, and he did not. I said, as much to myself as anyone else, “That sounds like an armadillo.”
Mike, who had been lulled half asleep by the rhythm of the glider he was sitting in, sprang up, instantly awake and alert, like the fireman he used to be. He ran down the stairs and saw the armadillo. In a matter of only seconds, he rapidly shifted from mild mannered retired guy to emergency first responder to Carl the Groundskeeper from Caddyshack.
He was going to get that armadillo.
Generally when he wants varmints to remove themselves from our yard, he gets a low powered pellet gun and shoots tiny plastic pellets at them. I’m not even sure this ‘weapon’ would put your eye out at point blank range, not that we’re going to test this theory. If that doesn’t work, he might ramp it up to metal bb’s. But not this time. Nope. This was no catch and release situation. He got his .25 pistol, his “Baby Baretta,” the gun he says he’d like to have with him if he’s ever in a knife fight, and quickly discovered that he didn’t actually have any ammunition for it. After a ridiculously lengthy search for bullets in all the places bullets might be in our house, he gave up.
Not the armadillo, though. He was still digging, oblivious to the efforts made to send him to armadillo heaven..
Eventually, he unearthed his 22 caliber bolt-action rifle and was able to locate ammunition for it. By this time it was close to midnight, but this didn’t prevent him from going out in the yard and shooting. This was at our lake house located in the muddy armpit of Lake Oconee, right across the lake from the Oconee National Forest, which is further out in the middle of nowhere than our regular house, and located in a place which has no laws I’m aware of that would prevent you from firing a rifle in your yard at midnight. Especially during deer and duck season, you hear a lot of rifle reports, all during the day and night.
Despite the fact that my husband has all kinds of advanced firearm training, and can aim at things and actually hit them most of the time, it took five blasts to finish off the armored armadillo, which skittered into the crawl space under our house to die in peace.
To read the rest of this adventure, click here.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.