I recently read an interesting article in which blame for the Ozarks’ struggling turkey and quail populations was partly placed on that armored invader from the south – the armadillo.
Armadillos aren’t native to the Ozarks, as I’m sure you know, and weren’t much seen around these parts until a few decades ago. They migrated up from Texas and Louisiana and points farther south.
Some say climate change is the reason. Some say it’s something in their biological clock. Whatever the reason, the arrival of the nasty little critters could at least partly correspond to dropping quail and turkey numbers, according to the article.
Both birds lay their eggs on the ground and armadillos seem to enjoy omelets, along with their usual diet of grubs, worms, and insects.
I’m no biologist for sure, and I hope I’m not passing on misinformation. I just found it an interesting theory – if that’s what it is.
I once knew an Indian woman who ate armadillo. She said it didn’t taste bad, but was a pain to skin because of the shell. No, thank you.
The opossum, on the other hand, IS a native Ozarker, like myself. I don’t hold them in very high regard, just slightly above an armadillo, really. I sure shot plenty of them when I was a kid growing up in the hills of McDonald County, though I’m ashamed to say it was wasted meat because I have yet to try possum. Don’t think I ever will, either.
One time I fired at a momma possum with a shotgun, and aimed a little low. If you didn’t already know, possums are marsupials and carry their ugly little babies in a pouch like a kangaroo (except most possums don’t hop around on their hind legs, or at least they better not!).
Well, after that blast there were tiny naked possums scattered everywhere. The scene was as gross as you imagine, and I sort of regret it now.