First Armadillos of the Year at Wildlife Center Are Smallest Ever

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMarch 17, 2017 12:08 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Spring is almost here, and that means the Wildlife Center of Texas is seeing more baby animals in need of care. The Houston non-profit helps rehabilitate injured, ill, and orphaned animals. This week, they got two infant armadillo siblings. 

Anni Ranck, the Wildlife Rehabilitation team lead said after heavy storms, a woman in the area found the two baby armadillos in her yard and brought them in. She says they do get armadillos in each year.

“Probably less than 10, I would say and we do over 10,000 animals each year,” she says. “And certainly these are the first of this year and definitely, these are the smallest ones we’ve ever had.”

When these little fellas got to the Wildlife Center – they needed a check-up.

 “Anytime little babies are flushed out of their dens or nests – blown from their trees, they can sustain injuries,” Rank says. “In their case we were worried they may have gotten a little bit of water in their lungs so we have to check for symptoms of pneumonia. A lot of times we have to check for fractures on little guys that come in. Any illness they may have we treat to the best that we can, we get em healthy, make sure they can take care of themselves. And then our ultimate goal is to get them back out in the wild where they belong.”

Okay, imagining a baby armadillo get checked for pneumonia is probably one of the cutest things ever. And if that’s not enough – Ranck shares this fun fact about armadillos.

“They have a pretty unique feature called polyembryony – they’re the only mammal that gives birth consistently to four identical babies each time,” she says. “And that’s a pretty neat feature that makes them very valuable in medical research because they get four identical specimens each time. So it’s just a neat little thing, fun fact about armadillos, so we’re excited to have a couple of unique animals in our care right now.”

But they won’t be in their care for long – Ranck says the armadillos should be able to reenter the wild in a matter of weeks.

Speaking of spring, you might have already noticed bursts of bluebonnets blanketing Texas. Daphne Richards with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service told Texas Public Radio a mild winter has led to the earlier than normal blooms.

“They’re coming in all at once in big blue swaths and they are definitely coming out in full force,” Richards says. 

She adds if you plan to stop and take pictures check for snakes and ants and avoid busy highways.

And if you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day today – you should know there’s a Houston man who basically owns the holiday. Tom Horan – or “Mr. Irish” – spoke with Houston’s local ABC station:

“A good friend of mine, George O’Neil, who’s since passed away, said ‘Tommy, you’re to what St. Patrick’s Day what Santa Claus is to Christmas. What an honor!”

He ran the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade for decades – and has two Irish whiskeys named after him.