Monday, January 27, 2014

An Invasion of Sorts

Who would have ever thought it?  Armadillos living in the mountains of North Carolina.  The sight of a nine-banded armadillo in western NC was first documented in 2008.  The NC Wildlife Resources Commission receives four to six call per year with sightings in western NC.

Presumably the milder winters we have had for the past three years has allowed the armadillo to move into the mountains.  The overall expansion of the armadillo has been ten times faster that average rates expected of mammals moving north.

And now we have confirmed sighting in our very own county.  A SC high school science teacher was driving up US 276 in Pisgah National Forest when he sighted an armadillo digging for grubs in a ditch by the roadside.  He stopped his car and took a photograph of the critter.

 Transylvania County armadillo photographed by
Roger Skillman
(Photo from the Asheville Citizen/Times)

With the finding of the armadillo, the NC State University Cooperative Extension has published recipes for cooking them.  Considered an invasive pest, the armadillo can be killed at any time of the year in NC.  It is very likely that our colder-than-normal winter this year will drastically reduce the population.  The armadillo is not equipped to deal with sub-zero temperatures.

Armadillo Stew
1 armadillo, dressed and cleaned
4 large onions
1 stalk celery
2 cans chopped mushrooms
2 cups uncooked rice
10 cups armadillo broth
salt and pepper to taste

Boil armadillo until tender, reserve broth.  Remove meat from bones.
Saute chopped onion and celery in butter.  Add mushrooms and meat and simmer five minutes.  Put in large Dutch oven and add broth, rice, salt, and pepper.  Bake at 375 1 to 2 hours until tender.

Unfortunately, the Extension does not give hints on dressing and cleaning the armadillo.

Armadillos were called "Hoover Hawgs" and their meat saved many a family during the Great Depression.  As for me?  I'll take a pass on this one.


Anonymous said...

They are such interesting looking creatures, primitive and wild. I wish they weren't considered invasive. Is that because they dig around where people don't want them digging?

Barbara Rogers said...

Amazing to have them here. FL was full of them, as I found out when camping outdoors without tent one night and one of these guys bumped right into me...I probably smelled like food. He was persistent too. That was many years ago.

Ms. A said...

I'll pass, too!

I always think of my Dad's dad when I see an armadillo! He was from the mountains and when he saw one here, he thought it was amazing and wanted to catch it. He had two artificial legs, so that was a funny sight to see!

The Bug said...

Hmmm - I guess if someone gave me that dish to eat I'd try it, but I am NOT going to fix it myself!

NanaNor's said...

This sounds interesting. Not sure I could eat it if I knew what it was though.

Anonymous said...

Yech. It's enough to make me a vegetarian. Looks like a giant roly poly bug.

Arkansas Patti said...

Aw, I think they are cute but in Florida, the cowboys shoot them for sport just to see them jump. Sigh.

KB said...

I am amazed that you have them in the mountains! I wonder what Lucy would do if she saw one?

The thought of the stew turned my stomach...

Do they taste like chicken?

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, my! I remember when they started showing up in Florida -- they were as bad as possums for hurling themselves under cars.

Thanks for the recipe!

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Robin - They do dig where they aren't wanted and their burrows are often taken over by skunks.

Vicki - Yes, many of the sightings have been roadkill.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I really thought armadillos were everywhere. Well, they've been everywhere that I've lived: FL, TX, AZ and GA!
I'll have a salad….a pass on the armadillo for me too.

Lise said...

We haven't seen them up here (just the raccoon on the porch). I'm not sure I'd want to try that stew, but I guess when one is hungry enough, one might try anything. I'm sure there are tips on the internet for dressing them.