The Foxy Armadillos are facing off with an invading landlubber fox, displayed at 50% of viewport width.
January 2021 by Terry Verduin


For weeks, the 'dillos life was swell,
but things don't always go so well.
The fox came back to claim his den.
How could the armadillos win?
(The Foxy Armadillos)

This daredevil armadillo adventure is sure to generate pirate talk about Little Ray's seafaring books for children. Cannon-ball-sized armadillos are anything but boring landlubbers.

Armadillos Rule the Night

Jaw-Dropping Nights? Few pirates are lucky enough to see these nocturnal creatures. Night watches would be wasted on Moby Dick or, The Whale, by Herman Melville. Whales, like dolphins and porpoises, sleep at night.

Beauty Awakens? Armadillos live on land. They boast mammalian features of whales and dolphins, including lungs. They bear and nurse live young, called “pups”, like baby rays and sharks. Marine mammals have “calves”.

Country Strong? Armadillos are vertebrates. Bony spinal columns and skeletons give them shape and protect internal body parts. Dolphins, porpoises and whales are marine mammals with bones. Most fish have bones.

Armadillos Are Flexible

Hat Trick? Cartilaginous fish have no bones. Stingrays, rays and other shark family members are made of cartilage. Armadillos share some of this resilient tissue. It binds parts together and facilitates bends and gyrations.

Champion of the Sea? Figure out who reigns supreme at navigating rough waters, plus rugged terrains. Is it a stingray? How about a shark? Can pirates go where armadillos safely venture? Are ships needed for ocean travels?

Make a Splash? Captain Ahab, protagonist of Moby Dick would say: “It be armadillos! Aargh Matey”! The cutest of life forms do not inhabit Davy Jones' Locker, home to squids, octopuses, eels and drowned sailors.

Armadillos Are Durable

Shot from a Cannon? “Yer gonna want” 'dillo shape, form and style. They haul few bony plates around. These natural navigators are born waterproof. They don't rot in wind, sun or rain like high-maintenance wooden vessels.

Structure? The armadillo protective armor is called the osteoderm. It offers shell-like properties. The top layer consists of keratin scales. Under the keratin layer are bone-like tiles. The combination is harder than a turtle shell.

Lasting Impression? Armadillos and stingrays' lifespans max out at 15-to-20 years. Sharks may live to 400. Pirates on warships face early deaths. They risk getting tossed overboard to “feed the fish”. “Dead men tell no tales”.

Armadillos Are Seaworthy

Rare Jewels? Pirates use outside sails. Fish inflate or deflate inside swim bladders to go up or down. Armadillos likewise sink or float with stomach and intestine gas. A “bilge rat” would say: “these tricksters are amazing!”

Comfort and Joy? Whales, porpoises, dolphins, seals and walruses have blubber. This thick, protective fat helps marine mammals float, insulates them from cold and provides energy during hard times. 'Dillos store little fat.

Game On? Water-going armadillo legends hold their breath for six minutes. People generally last for just two. “Heave ho, me hearties”! Attempt to break under-water whale breath-holding records of up to twenty minutes.

Armadillos Are Planners

Prime the Pump? Nine-banded females produce one egg. It splits into four identical babies. Birth can be put on hold. Sharks also can maximize their pups' survival opportunities by delaying delivery. “Shiver Me Timbers”!

Empty Nests? The armadillo gestation period lasts two-to-five months. Pups mature quickly. They are weaned by two to four months. Within nine-to-12 months, the pups leave home to start families of their own.

Reinventing Oneself? Greenland sharks wait over 100 years to start procreating. Imagine the benefits of delaying parenting until stress is low. Timing birthdays earns these “hornswoggling” beasts a place together.

Armadillos Are Survivors

Around the Table? Think of the spin-off possibilities for their uncommon life-control methods. These remarkable souls could teach buccaneers to rule the briny deep and break curses without coughing up “pieces of eight”.

Back to the Drawing Board? Prepare for coming storms. The amaze-ball ability to delay birth facilitates relocations. While resettling, females can limit the weight of their unborn offspring. “Batten down the hatches”!

“All Hands Hoay”! Ma 'Dillo cares for the pups in a secure burrow. They dig in the dirt, eat dead bugs and morph into armored balls. Fully developed at birth, pups' armor is soft, as are baby stingrays' stingers.

Armadillos Are Quiet

Gender-Neutral? Nothing in an armadillo's nightly activities gives a clue to their sex. The size difference between male and female armadillos is slight. Males may be slightly larger. Only the underside shows the difference.

Shrug It Off? Like rays, 'dillos are shy. They prefer not to be seen. Close in on Little Ray's friends. Sharks on the move also may ignore people. Stealth and a focus on bite-sized morsels are themes for these eating machines.

Social Moments? Armadillos spend most of their time sleeping. They may join together in burrows for warmth when the weather is cold. They do not discriminate by sex for these heart-warming gatherings.

Lady Armadillos Are Amazing

Gilded Age? Pity famous lady pirates. They had to disguise themselves as men. Honor armadillos for fairness in separating the sexes. Each pup in an armadillo litter is of the same sex. Nature balances these living beings.

All Tied Up? Master gunners should envy the lack of random fire, recoil or explosions in the miraculous birthing process. Sharks work 6-to-24 months for live pup delivery. 'Dillo and stingray gestation averages 4-to-6 months.

Code of Conduct? Schooners need not be manned. Sharks need no male for motherhood. Fatherless births also occur among snakes and lizards. No-male policies should should give rise to parley. These talks may settle disputes.

Armadillos Are Refreshing

Life's a Picnic? Grog spirits shouldn't be watered down. Quartermasters control ship refreshments. Provisions make life good for “little armored ones” throughout the Americas. Their name hales from native Spanish roots.

Art of Living? “Ye” won't need “yer” keg. Armadillos drink with long, sticky tongues. Whittling peg legs for Hector Barbossa, ferocious captain in Pirates of the Caribbean films, would be a waste of their few peg-like teeth.

“Avast Ye!” Leaks matter to master gunners in charge of safety. “Yo Ho Ho! Cap the bunghole in the side of your barrels. Plundering is not just for lads. Lasses crash servers with this site's updates. “Haul wind” to the video below.

Armadillos Are Hunters

To the Max? “Swab the poop deck”! Hard-working armadillos hunt nightly. Like sharks, these non-picky eaters consume tasty morsels, dead or alive. Omnivores, they eat plants and animals. Some sharks add plants to their diet.

Skip a Meal? Morning and evenings also may be dedicated to foraging for food. They sleep most of the day. Rarely are armadillos seen with another member of their species. They prefer to be alone.

“Kin of a Biscuit Eater”? Like stingrays, armadillos have poor eyesight. No problem; stingrays, sharks and armadillos mostly hunt by scent. When these marauders go after food, items of aesthetic appeal often get destroyed.

Armadillos Are Fast

Pressing Issue? Armadillos are quick on their feet. Like stingrays, mantas and other rays, they generally choose to flee. Why hide or curl up like balls? They move faster than most rays. Their speed bursts rival most sharks.

Finer Things? Armadillos muscle their way across lake, stream, river or ocean bottoms and paddle over water. Drop oars, “Matey”. Race them with “yer” arms and legs. Expect them to handsomely outswim and outrun “ye”.

Leaping Catfish! Flying Stingrays do not have a monopoly on air travel. Armadillos can leap about four feet (1.2 meters) into the air. As with stingrays, this reflexive flight response helps evade problems.

Armadillos Are Navigators

“Anchors Aweigh”! Make 'dillo escapes as you do cross-platform reads with shipmates. Win against enemy combatants. Armadillos, sharks and stingrays in Little Ray Children's Books can free orderly seas from mutinous curses.

All the Moves? “Skirvey” compasses and charts can't match 'dillo senses. They need no sailing master to check point of sail, maneuver or adjust direction. Long pointy noses and big trumpet-like ears do their navigating.

Curb Feelers? Armadillos have wiry hairs along their sides and belly. These help them feel their way around. They don't stop at curbs or fences. When they cannot dig under something, they go over it. They are great climbers!

Armadillos Are Surreal

Stuff of Legends? Captain Kidd was known for burying treasure. He lost it. Behold as 3-to-5 powerful 'dillo claws on front and hind feet dig long, deep burrows for sleeping quarters. These don't collapse like beach sand holes.

Slam Dunk? “Yer skirvey cutlass, musket, blunderbuss or flintlock ain't worth nuffin”. 'Dillos sport tough bands of bony skin plates. These safeguard them against stings or bites during hunting, game-play or combat.

Crazy Is: Pirates of the Sea. Forget Walt Disney theme-park rides. Unhinge from movie routines. Weigh anchor and hoist the Mizzen, meaning get “yer” sloop sailing. “Yer sea legs” will adjust on the way to warm coastal waters.

Armadillos Are Equipped

“Sail Ho”! Blackbird won't be on an enemy ship. This famed English Pirate won't engage “ye” in combat. Armadillos live well to the south and west of his legendary territory along the Virginia and North Carolina coasts.

Prepare to Go Ashore. 'Dillos embrace thorny brush during treks and escapes. Long clothes would get caught up in their rough terrain. Three-banded species turtle-tuck into cannon-ball-shapes to shield heads and legs.

Sweat It? Critters need no “booty” for survival. Nature provides food and shelter. Three-banded armadillos tuck themselves into crocodile-hard armor cases. Tough stingray and shark skins offer similar armor-like protection.

Armadillos Are Unstoppable

“Fire in the Hole”? Powder monkeys jump ship to escape cannon powder jobs. Distractions don't bother armadillos. Scrambling on pavement, they sound like skateboards. Sharks attack nuisances. Rays flee problems.

Home-Wreckers? Although they can dig their own holes, foxes may take over a burrow dug by an armadillo. These are deep and wide enough to cause structural damage to the foundations of homes, outbuildings or driveways.

Escape Artists? It is hard to trap these elusive animals. No bait has been proven successful at luring armadillos. They use their large claws to break out of traps. Since they don't make good pets, pirates keep parrots.

Armadillos Are Mythical

Be Scared? Crocodile skin deflects bullets. Famed Captain Hook in Peter Pan of Walt Disney Pictures is lucky he did not shoot at the beast chowing down on his hand. A bullet could have bounced back, killing him.

“Land Ho”! Ruling powers reboot an old fox's den as home for The Foxy Armadillos. Three-banded armadillos stand out among the twenty recognized species. Rolled up, they are small-caliber, bullet-proof strong.

Brand Like a Pirate? The pattern on the head plate of each armadillo is unique. Not every pirate crew flies the Jolly Roger skull and crossbones flag at the top of their ship. Some pirates fly their own brand of flag.

Seafaring Books for Children

Get It? “Ye” need no ammo box to restock. “Ye” need no sword or pistol to brave these books. Watch armadillos in the video below so you'll recognize them sashaying in sought-after surprise on land or in water.

Summer Bugs? The worn out Foxy the Pirate animatronic character has a role in the FNaF game series. Escape his disturbing pizzeria for The Foxy Armadillos. Shake up co-operative living with a touch of character combat.

Thrill Seeker? “Ye” better add 'dillo to pirate talk, or “ye be walking the plank”! Clue in with details from The Foxy Armadillos and Pirate Terms and Phrases from Impress “yer” friends in surefire ways.

Armadillos Own the Water Element

Plank-Walking Good! Nautical types define Landlubber as someone uncomfortable on water. Armadillos come fully adapted to take part in and contribute to sea-roving exploits. Leave port for glorious nighttime quests.

Ready to Ramble? Fly a Jolly Roger skull and cross-bone flag. Reach loot. Matchless armadillo clues stretch beyond the pirate-themed Sea of Thieves video game built by Rare Limited, then published by Microsoft Studios.

Center of Gravity? As fast as “thar she blows”, “ye be wanting” Little Ray's nautical world collection for “yer duffle”. “Ye be loving” these beasties more than cackle fruit, colorful slang for chicken eggs. Savvy?

Armadillos Own Tech Solutions

Tech Leads the Way? Free, open source software, programs and games demonstrate how play can lead to payoffs. After users try the first level for free, they can upgrade as needed to develop armadillo strengths.

Test Strengths? Accelerated Reader Questions are available on this website for each Little Ray Children's Book. Get a head start. Then, enlighten others with “yer” knowledge about these unlikely heroes. Blow minds.

Collaboration Nation? Fans of armadillos are invited to submit story lines and art concepts to Lego® World Builder. Friends of Little Ray should join him in this collaborative effort to expand children's entertainment lines.

Armadillos Own the Digital World

Joint Efforts? Ray's submissions to Lego® World Builder include the animated video below. Collaboration among participants should help the entertainment brand grow content for TV shows, digital videos and toy sets.

Finest Hour? The following reading video cracks open the grit behind a foxy armadillo ambush. Few of the words, but all of the animations were developed from illustrations in the book. (47 seconds)

Turn Up the Volume? Transcript: “Ideas come while playing, when our minds are straying, while in a friendly group, or away from our troop. Great ideas start out as fun, then get used by everyone.”