Live ARMADILLO RACE History and Commentary
as compiled by Ralph Fisher’s Photo Animals
ARMADILLO RACING was made popular through the efforts of persons like Sam Lewis, “Jalapeno Sam,” San Angelo,Texas (deceased) and Jim Schmidt, Schulenburg, Texas, whose racing Armadillos and Armadillo education presentations showed the unusual qualities of the Nine-Banded Armadillo. Ralph Fisher’s Photo Animals have courteously replaced these pacesetters as the racing Armadillo and Armadillo information icon. Through the unique way of displaying and exhibiting nature’s link to pre-historic times, ARMADILLO RACING is presented as a fast, fun, exciting and colorful event at your function. Armadillo and Texas theme prizes are awarded to Armadillo racers and are thus taken home across theU.S., and to all corners of the world. ARMADILLO RACES are now world-known as a uniquely Texas sporting activity, and Racing Armadillos will be the next Texas Olympic event!
Ralph Fisher’s Photo Animals furnished 23 live armadillo for the movie “Space 3001”, a sequel to “2001, A Space Odyssey.” We were the only racing armadillo troupe who could furnish enough tame armadillos and racing armadillos to meet the requirements on this futuristic movie set. Our Armadillos have traveled far and wide doing commercials, races, promotions and educational presentations, and are featured as part of the BUZZARD WHISPERER (501 c3 non-profit) division of Ralph Fisher’s Photo Animals. Several protected or unique wild animal species, Armadillos and birds are featured at these programs delivered to your school function of special event (see BUZZARD WHISPERER on this website.)
Contrary to statements from some so-called Armadillo “experts” and past or present ARMADILLO RACE providers, the Nine-Banded Armadillo is not stupid, nor does he have a low I.Q., comparatively. Any animal who survived 55 million years, to change only in size (Armadillos could be 9 feet tall), cannot be stupid. The fossil of a giant frozen armadillo found intact in southern Peru in 2005, was about 2 million years old, and was 6’ 6” in length (about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle,) and perfectly preserved. The very fact that the Nine- Banded Armadillo has been designated as the Texas State Small Mammal gives a pretty good sense of the importance of a true survivor or nature. The State of Texas does not take lightly this icon, and has thus elevated the Armadillo to a status right alongside the Texas Longhorn, Mockingbird, Pecan Tree and Bluebonnet. Considering all of the animals, plants and fish who went extinct, the Armadillo, kin to sloths and anteaters, survived tumultuous times as the earth’s surface changed to present status. Remember, only a handful of animals who walked the earth with true dinosaurs are still thriving today; The Armadillo is one of those animals.
The Armadillo was able to adapt to climatic changes because, being omnivores, had the wider diet range of plants and animal foodstuffs. Armadillos also had a tough exterior layer (carapace) for more body protection, and the ability to dig dens with their sharp claws, and live in constant temperatures underground while resting, breeding and nurturing their little armadillo (4 pups per litter) families. The more than 32 species of Armadillos worldwide all have the ability to store body fat and when needed, live in a low metabolic state, similar to, but not exactly like hibernation. If you have ever watched a captive Armadillo in his quest to escape, as he examines every nook and cranny of his enclosure, you will see there is nothing “dumb” or small-brained about him. He also remembers escape routes and safe dens in the wild with the preciseness of a GPS navigational system. Through experiments with young Armadillos in a round cage, it was determined that they had an uncanny sense or direction or internal compass and were able to return to the same location time after time.
Nine-Banded Armadillos (scientific name: Dasypus Novemcinctus) can weigh in excess of 13 pounds, and can be over 24 inches long, including their pointed tail. The characteristically searching Armadillo is a high energy mammal, having hair, giving live birth, and nursing their pups. Dillos, the nickname of the Armadillo, are all Nine-Banded in the United States, named because of nine distinct bands semi-circling their carapace. This allows for more flexibility while feeding, digging and crawling in underground dens, and escaping predators. It also creates a natural gripping device hindering their being dragged from a den; the bands create friction against the side-walls of the den, making it harder to pull the Armadillo out.
Predators include any carnivorous animal or bird. Baby or young Armadillos are easy prey when out of their den, to owls, hawks, and the like, as well as ground based animals like members of the dog and feline families. But the primary killer of Armadillos of all ages, is the automobile. Armadillos racing across the roadway lack two essential survival skills: Armadillos cannot calculate the speed of an oncoming car, and when being passed over by the auto, jump upwards to escape, thus hitting the underside of the auto and creating Armadillo road-kill. Many Armadillo Race participants tell us they have never before seen a live Armadillo, only road-kill, upside down and dead.
The next fact about Armadillo traits disputed by Ralph Fisher’s Photo Animals, through years of experience, is doubting some ideas of the exactness and accuracy of the Armadillo’s sensual abilities; i.e., hearing, sight and smell. After experimenting with tame armadillos in a controlled but non-scientific manner, Ralph Fisher has determined these senses to be limited at best, not “excellent” as described in several so called factual Armadillo descriptions. Ralph Fisher believes that by alertness, and constant motion, the Armadillo, more accidentally than by senses, finds foodstuffs.