Death by armadillo

The nine-banded armadillo, an animal common in the U.S, is known for its jump when startled. It says in wiki that “The armadillo can jump 3-4 feet (91-120 cm) straight in the air if sufficiently frightened”.

This behavior of armadillo makes it a common roadkill. However, I cannot help but think, wouldn’t this makes it extremly dangerous to the people in the car? 3-4 feet is more than enough to jump onto the same level as the windshield. Imagine a car travelling at 70 miles, an armadillo jumps, and collides into the car via the windshield. It’s basically the same as hurling such an armored meatball weighing 12-22 pounds at your car at 70miles per hour.

So is there any reported casault attributed to armadilloy? If not, why?

Sounds like a question for an insurance company actuarial. Not that I am one though.

I’ve never heard of it, but that means nothing.

Andy Armadillo, while attempting to cross the freeway, sees a Mack truck coming at him doing 90.
“Oh, whatever shall I do, jump? Oh, I know! I’ll curl up into a ball!”


Actually there’s a kind of a “Whump!” sound from the truck hitting the armadillo, and really hard to describe “Skreek!” from the armadillo being crushed. We ran over one one time in crew cab pickup like the one in the link. Makes an awful racket.

One little letter wrong, and everyone is a critic!

Was the OP inspired by this story of the wedge-tailed eagle?

Next time I see an armadillo in the yard, I’m going to jump at it and say “Boo!”

Of course, if it jumps four feet in the air, I’m going to crap myself.

I have no idea how common this kind of accident is, but it seems to me the timing would have to be perfect for it to happen.

I have seen them scurry away and not get hit by a car, so presumably they would ‘feel’ or ‘hear’ the vehicle approach and try to take evasive action as opposed to being completely startled.

If they did jump straight up and you were going 70 mph and they landed on your windshield they might just bounce right off, as opposed to crashing through through the glass and onto the dashboard.

Someone from the Southwest needs to run some experiments and let us know what happens. :slight_smile:

How about a 300-lb. meatball at 70 mph? We don’t have armadillos in Canada, but there was [a gruesome accident last year in Quebec]( a black bear was hit by a vehicle and sent airborne into the path of an oncoming car. It passed right through the car, through the windshield and out the back window, killing two occupants of the car. Police said they died instantly, which made me think they were beheaded by the bear but that might just be my imagination.

They are in Central Arkansas.
When I’m next in the woods at night, I’ll get someone to hold my beer, sneak up behind him and following Dung Beetle’s advice, yell, “BOO!”

I find it hard to believe that an armadillo can jump that hight. It doesn’t seem to have the muscle or leverage, and it lacks a natural “spring” such as fleas have.
Wikipedia has this to say:

Unless you’re driving an unusually high rig, four feet sounds absurdly high for a fender. I can believe an armadillo jumping to the height of my car’s fender, which is a lot closer to the ground. Ironically, the Wikipedia article suggests that the scenario suggested by the OP is the caue of armadillos getting hit, not of possible human injuries.
The linked reference 13 doesn’t add anything.

Texan here. They do jump if startled (hell, so do I!) but I think four feet is the maximum upper limit. It’s usually more like a few inches to a foot. There’s a timing issue, too, as dolphinboy alluded, but it’s more like … if you really do manage to sneak up** on an armadillo in your car, by the time they notice and startle-jump, they jump … directly into the bumper.

That’s why there’s an old joke about how there aren’t really any armadillos living in Texas; they just move the dead ones around each night. :smiley: They basically jump right into fast-moving steel, and that armor of there’s just ain’t designed for that.

Also: holy cow! :eek: at the black-bear-as-trajectory story. There IS something morbidly funny, though, about the notion of someone a hundred years in the future finding an old, crumbling tombstone that reads: “Here lies so-and-so, killed by a flying black bear.”

** They’re sort of off in their own world sometimes, like they’re listening to little armadillo iPods or something, but just try to catch one on foot sometime! They’re surprisingly fast.

I’ve seen it (one time I accidentally cornered one against our back door and its leap was quite impressive).

Or into the undercarriage of the car as it starts passing over them. Not a good survival tactic.

I’ll take your word for it, though it’s still hard to buy. purplehorseshoe’s post suggests it’s not normally that high. But if you’re about to be run over by a truck, you might make a superarmadillan effort.

South Georgia saying:
Why’d the chicken cross the road?

To show the armadillos that it can be done.

Unfortunately I have never seen an Armadillo, dead or alive and it is totally bumming me out :frowning:

Plus they can give you leprosy.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! I’m never leaving the city again. I can deal with gun violence, gangs, drug dealers and overcrowding, but I’m really not prepared for airborne windscreen-shattering bear-guillotines.

Yeah, but the females of the kind we have around here always bear identical quadruplets, which is pretty cool.

Neat - in looking that up, I learned that down in South America there is also such a think as a pink fairyarmadillo and a screaming hairy armadillo. Makes our nine-banded ones sound downright boring.

I’ve seen plenty in Texas, but living in AZ, I have to wonder why we don’t have any. Maybe our illegal-immigration laws?