365 Days of Earrings

Monday, September 19, 2011

Armadillos: the state small animal of Texas

This morning I chose to wear these armadillo earrings that I bought at a science teacher's conference long ago. For years I took my students to the National Zoo where we recorded the behavior a variety of animals, including the Golden Lion Tamerine, a tiny primate that leapt from branch to branch with infants clinging to their mothers. In the same exhibit were a sloth and an armadillo, neither of whom ever moved. The only armadillos I've ever seen were that motionless one, which resembled a basketball, and dead armadillos on the highway in Texas.

But one of my 3rd graders has chosen to write about armadillos this month. Thanks to him, I know that the armadillo is the "state small animal of Texas." As far as I know, my home state of Virginia doesn't even have a state animal. State bird (cardinal), state fish (brook trout), state dog (American foxhound), but no state animal. Much less a state small animal.

My armadillos caught my eye this morning, and I thought of Benjamin. So I wore them. I'll have to be more cautious.

Benjamin spotted them dangling from my ears this morning, and asked, "Why are you wearing those?"

"Because of you!" I responded.

Shortly thereafter, I had one of those stressful teaching moments that happens when we allow children to conduct web-based research, even at "pre-screened" sites. I glanced across the computer lab to see a man with a gun in some sort of night-vision movie walking towards an armadillo. I hope it was a tranquilizer gun, and the man was a researcher, but fortunately, it was dim and dark and Benjamin decided to close the window and try another site. Whew. Later I tried to retrace his steps, to find out what he was watching, but I've failed.

Maybe my earrings were trying to warn me to beware of armadillos.  Tomorrow... lizards? I'll have to sleep on it.

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