Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Armadillos and Turtles: Roadkill Cafe Specials

Today I drove about 45 miles south to Tulsa to meet with a minister friend about doing some volunteer work. I've only lived here since the middle of February, so there are still many things to get used to, things that are quite different from Southern California and Oregon. For one thing, the roadkill. My ex used to have one of those Roadkill Cafe t-shirts, but I guess I never paid enough attention to the various dishes served as I just don't remember armadillos being on the menu. Opossums ('possums) are the roadkill item of choice in Oregon and parts of California. Of course, California also has the skunk; there's never any question about what that black and white squashed critter is on the road. The aroma gives it away.

Possums are just there. I swear they make bets with each other about how soon they'll get on the menu. I've got a wonderful, true story about possums for another time; this blog is about roadkill in Oklahoma and Texas.

Armadillos, the state mammal of Texas,"make common roadkill due to their habit of jumping to about fender height when startled (such as by an oncoming car)." Before today, I'd never seen one other than in a zoo. Today I really didn't see any complete ones as they were all in pretty sad shape (read: dead) alongside the highway. Someone told me they kind of explode when hit by a car, but I'll withhold judgment on that until I actually see it for myself. I don't remember seeing so many when the weather was cold and rainy, so perhaps they come out when the sun shines.

I also saw a few turtles; at least they used to be turtles. Not as many as armadillos, though. I've never seen a turtle on a highway. Makes me wonder why they were there and where they were going. These didn't get very far. I'm sure they don't jump to fender height, like the armadillos. Just the idea of either of those animals jumping makes for a strange visual effect.

Can't say I miss 'possums all that much, but I'm still trying to get used to seeing armadillos and turtles being "one" with the pavement. I wonder if any have actually made it to the top of someone's fender? Has anyone ever seen an armadillo as a hood ornament?

This is getting out of hand and, since it's late, I'm running the risk of becoming entirely strange so will quit. But, I do wonder what it feels and sounds like when a driver hits one. I don't really want to experience it first-hand, but if you've had the joyous experience, please let me know.


Old Newsie said...

Armadillos in Oklahoma? I always thought (or have been told anyway) that armadillos are only found in Texas. Maybe you've seen a few that are not aware they can't cross the border out of that Lone Star state

spiritualastronomer said...

No Border Patrol here, I guess. Yep, they were definitely armadillos. Must have seen about 10 of them between here and Tulsa.

Yarntangler said...

There are so many dead armadillos in Arkansas they are considering making them the official state dead animal.

We had to stop behind three cars once on a side road in OK. The drivers were all out of the vehicles picking up turtles and crossing them to the other side!