Residents of Barra do Garcas, Brazil were alarmed when an unusually large and usually shy nine-banded armadillo was spotted prowling the city's streets.
Nine-banded armadillos are the largest of this secretive species of mammal but every once in a while, a “giant” one appears and people freak out. Sure, these insectivorous armored critters look a tad prehistoric but the largest ones, measuring up to five feet long (tail included) and weighing as much as an adult male human look like something out of a 1950s monster movie – in 3D!
It was no great surprise, therefore, when environmental protection group Friends of Animals received panicky phone calls from Barra do Garcas-ians about a “giant” armadillo seen roaming its way through town. Since armadillos typically avoid people (not to mention other armadillos), it was feared the animal might be sick or injured and a team was sent out to gently capture the “living fossil” and bring it in for a complementary medical check up.
Happily, the vet noted no health issues and green-lighted ithe armadillo's release... though not back onto the streets of Barra do Gracas, mind you. Photographer Edevilson Arneiro was in the right place at the right time to document the wayward armadillo's return – via truck – to the primeval forest where armadillos prefer to roam. Arneiro's photos give us a good idea of this noteworthy nine-bander's prodigious size. Good thing they're well-tempered beasts!
“As a photographer who loves nature,” explained Arneiro to a reporter from The Dodo, “it was thrilling to see the armadillo's joy in returning to nature.” Whatever you say, Ed, but if some dude was yankin' on OUR tail we'd joyfully make tracks in the opposite direction as well!