Armadillo online!
July 6, 2018 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Welcome to the wonderful world of armadillos. Possibly the world's most earnest site about the humble armadillo.
posted by MoonOrb (12 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

Armadillos AND Flanders & Swann? Mefites, you are my people!
posted by alfhild at 9:48 PM on July 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

If one had a pet armadillo, is there any way to determine if it's carrying Hanson's disease? Asking for a friend.
posted by lagomorphius at 9:55 PM on July 6, 2018

Um... full disclosure, this is my website. Ask me anything.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:48 AM on July 7, 2018 [18 favorites]

You know where the remote for the blu-ray player is?
posted by davelog at 6:59 AM on July 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

well that was unexpected. what a cool site, caution!
posted by bologna on wry at 10:56 AM on July 7, 2018

Are armadillos really just tactical possums?
posted by Seamus at 11:29 AM on July 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

@caution live frogs: What got you into armadillos?
posted by Canageek at 11:31 AM on July 7, 2018

Are armadillos really just tactical possums?

Yes, and as any prog rock fan knows, they can only be defeated by a manticore.

This is cool; I actually found this site a couple of weeks ago when 4 armadillos invaded my back yard and didn't seem too concerned when I walked out and took some pictures of them (which I posted on FB here). I even reached down and touched one to see what its back felt like, whereupon it scurried off a little way. Their armor is very leathery feeling. I am assuming they were four siblings that were relatively young and hadn't learned to fear people. So far they haven't returned, at least not that I have seen.

Nice work, MoonOrb and caution live frogs!
posted by TedW at 12:38 PM on July 7, 2018

when i was a kid my favorite thing was an armadillo stuffed animal! also, anklyosaurs!
posted by wibari at 4:59 PM on July 7, 2018

When I was in high school (circa 1990) I was looking for an art project, and I found a National Geographic magazine with a freaked-out armadillo on the cover. I liked it, so I made a block print based on it. I also constructed a huge blue armadillo, using carpet padding foam over a wire armature, stuffing it with fabric. I used thick leather for the claws. I honestly can’t remember what happened to it - a guy had offered to buy it, I don’t recall if I sold it or if it is still in my dad’s attic somewhere.

Fast forward to 1995. An acquaintance mentioned to me that our university was giving everyone web space. I decided to make a web page... couldn’t think of a topic, until I remembered the armadillo. Armadillo Online was born, starting as a list of armadillo “facts” that I basically made up out of whole cloth for fun. I coded the thing on paper, using a pencil, copying it to a text editor and uploading it from a floppy disk from a beige Mac in one of the university’s computer labs.

After a while it occurred to me that as a zoology major, maybe I should make the site more informative, so I removed the made-up stuff and started doing some basic research. I added photos (using the “if it’s online it’s free” approach of the day). This increased my search rating, which increased my urge to make the site useful. I discovered that as part of an academic institution (using an educational approach) I could link to content from the Univeristy of Michigan, so armadillo bones and etc. from their museum of zoology were added. Then people began to send me photos, and stories, and the whole thing snowballed.

A decade and a half later (and following two or three site redesigns!) I was out of grad school, living in Minnesota, when my alma mater informed me that all old web sites were going to be retired. At that point I finally moved the site to private hosting. It was cheap enough to keep it alive alongside my personal web page, so I left it up. I haven’t actually made any substantive updates to the site in quite a while, what with having a Real Job and a kid and all, plus there’s one other minor issue.

I don’t study armadillos. Never have. I’ve had a lot of training in animal behavior, behavioral ecology, and zoology, but my own research has been circadian rhythms, feeding, and obesity in rodents. The armadillo was, is, and remains a hobby. They’ll always make me smile, which is a big part of why the site stays live.

Fun fact: when applying for a postdoctoral position, the group I interviewed with came across my armadillo site. It locked in my application. They didn’t want a stick-in-the-mud, and the site was proof positive that I had a sense of humor. Go armadillos.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:50 AM on July 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

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