The foxy armadillos and the farmers
March 2018 by V. R. Duin


It started out as simple play
That ultimately saved the day
For Ma and Pa, Sis, Boom, and Ba.
Even the farmers cheered, “Hurrah!”
(“The Foxy Armadillos”)

Wild animal surprises in Little Ray Children's Books provide reading enrichment for children and lead to wild animal appreciation in the real world.

To gain a sense of wild animal appreciation, it is not necessary to get up close and personal with animals in the wild. There is no need to experience unsafe wild animal surprises. For families located in shark or stingray territory, these amazing animals do not intentionally appear. It is rare for them to attack people. However, people who venture into their waters should be alert to safety. Swim at guarded beaches. Dive with protective equipment. Boat away from shark-infested areas.

Beach guards know the risks of marine animals, tides and currents. They also are equipped and trained to start rescue and treatment operations. Lifeguards are employed by amusement parks, state parks and federal parks. Many of these positions are seasonal. The beach generally provides a peaceful place for wild animal viewings. It was a stingray sighting from the shoreline that inspired V. R. Duin to write Little Ray Children's books. These books share the fun of wild animal lives with children.

Before she saw her first armadillo, V. R. Duin had lived in Florida for ten years. Over time, she learned enough about these unusual, largely solitary animals to write “The Foxy Armadillos”. Few people are aware of these armored animals in our world. Armadillos are nocturnal animals. They live in wild and in forested habitats. Most children need to read about these animals to learn they are among us.

Wildlife and human populations are encountering each other more often today. Due to new housing development in wildlife habitat areas, many animals live with humans in densely populated areas. The digging and burrowing of some of these animals can damage lawns and flower gardens. However, most critters go about their lives in places and at times when they are not likely to be seen by people. Reading about wild animals provides reading enrichment for children. It teaches them about wild animals.

For most people, wildlife sightings offer thrilling and rare surprises. However, problems may be caused by animals sharing our living and recreation spaces. Children must learn to be wary of animals that appear at unusual times or behave in an unusual manner. Nocturnal animals that appear during the day or animals that act friendly, crazed or aggressive should not be approached or handled. A bite or scratch may result in serious illness or harm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention give some tips to help travelers Be Safe Around Animals.

Animals that feel threatened may flee. Animals protecting their homes can turn thrill into irritation or disaster. People can survive dangerous animal attacks. This may require keeping calm and slowly backing away. Those in a group can try to look big and scary. Spreading and flapping coats, holding equipment overhead, yelling, screaming and throwing things may make people seem dangerous. Knowing how to stay safe is important to having good experiences with wild animals.

Keep others safe. Unusual wild animal surprises should be reported to animal control officers, to life guards at beaches or to park rangers. Domestic and wild animals may be infected with rabies or other contagious diseases. Wounded animals should not be approached. Fear, protective instinct and remaining strength can cause them to attack and injure a human. People most show respect for other people and for the animals in our world.

Animals are an important attraction to national, state and local parks and recreational areas. For park volunteering, pursuing a wildlife career or exploring the wilderness contact The National Park Service. This service also offers lifeguard positions. Wild animals are wired to chase prey on the run. Developing wild animal appreciation and an understanding of animal's needs can help children grow to accept wild animals. It can help people live in peace with them.

To minimize the risks of conflict, people should never feed wild animals. In some states, it is illegal to feed certain wild animals. It also may be illegal to get rid of leftover food in a way that may attract dangerous wild animals. In many places, feeding wild animals can result in a hefty fine. There is a good reason behind these laws. The goal is to keep animals out of areas where there are a lot people. Tragedy may strike when animals learn that people are a source of food.

Unnatural feedings can create a public nuisance of wild animals. The Animal and Plant Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture offers warnings about the dangers of these feedings. They create dangers for human and animal safety. Early reading teaches of the problems that come with wild animal feedings. Reading helps people understand the needs of wild animals. This is reading enrichment for children and adults. Reading helps everyone obey the law and avoid unwanted wild animal surprises.

Animals snatch food. Bold seagulls and pigeons will steal food from human hands. When alligators grow used to feedings, they may snatch the hand that feeds them. A large alligator can pull a human into the water for drowning and eating. Large quantities, the wrong types of food and food wrappers, may create health risks for wild animals. The smell of human food may attract wild animals. Human food is rarely good for animals. People may not be able to live on raw animal food. They probably would not want to eat it. Show the same respect for animal diets.

Human foods and life styles are unsafe to wild animals. Wild animals must retain a fear of humans, so they will stay at a safe distance from roads, airports and boating areas. Animals everywhere are doing their best to make a living and raise their young. They should be left alone. Unless it's a mountain lion, looking wild animals in the eye challenges them to fight. Panicked homeowners often are surprised when wild animals take up residence in their houses, pools, porches or garages.

The best way for children and adults to enjoy wildlife is to keep it wild. Animals live in balance with all other species. Visitors to marine and land animal habitats should remain alert to warning signs posted for safety. Many parks and recreational areas offer informational materials for reading enrichment. This information teaches humans how to avoid becoming easy prey. For example, people should never to lie down in the presence of bears, coyotes, wolves or other attacking animals.

Animal safety information should be explained to children. It can keep children safe. It is hard for children to acquire wild animal appreciation after unknowingly placing themselves in danger from them. Tours, safety tips and other educational opportunities keep people aware of and informed about their surroundings. Humans cannot outrun the most dangerous of animals. Park programs offer safe ways for children and adults to experience thrilling wild animal surprises. Parks present information about the animals that roamed these lands and waters long before people arrived.

Many national parks offer opportunities to view large and small animals. On safari with professional permit holders, park visitors are likely to come across unusual wild animal surprises. Antelope, bear, bighorn sheep, buffalo, elk, fox, lynx, mountain goat, moose, wolf or wolverine roam many of these park lands. Wild animal viewing tours at national parks, recreational areas and sightings in their own backyards help children learn wild animal appreciation.

Some wild animals are so rare that children might never again experience them as they grow into adulthood. Wild animal surprises during these tours may include sightings of some freshwater fish relatives of Little Ray and his shark cousin. Visitors can participate in Aquatic Adventures at National Parks. During a beach or boating vacation, while camping at a park or in one's own backyard, it is important to know how to react to wild animal encounters. Taking a closeup selfie with a dangerous wild animal for posting on social media may lead to trouble.

Backyard animal habitats may be created to attract wild animals for viewing. Since different species of rabbits live in varied climates located in deserts, meadows, mountains, prairies, sand dunes, frozen lands, wetlands and woodlands, they are popular attractions. Nobody should be surprised when instead of bunnies, a rabbit patch attracts bears, bobcats, foxes, jackals, porcupines, skunks or wolves. A simple bird feeder can lure rats and squirrels to the buffet. Early reading can avoid unwanted wild animal surprises. This is healthy for wild animal appreciation.

Wild animals rarely follow human suggestion or live according to human plan. Many different plants and animals may make their home in the same area. They compete for food and survival in that space. A backyard fish pond may attract hungry, migrating birds. After stopping for rest and refreshments, the birds may continue on their way. They may leave no fish behind. Feathery friends at a bird feeder may be pushed away. Bears, raccoons, rats, snakes, squirrels or other climbing creatures eat birds or their food. Learning about the food chain is important for children.

Nature has a natural order. A fish pond may start out with colorful goldfish or koi fish. It may end up as a stocked watering hole for animals that eat fish. Alligators, birds, crocodiles, seals or water snakes may be attracted to wet habitats. Rattlesnakes are great swimmers and should be given wide space. If bitten, stay calm and immediately call poison control. In the United States, the telephone number for the National Poison Control Center is 1-800-222-1222.

Panicking will only make problems worse. Hungry wild carnivores are likely to view people and their pets as nonthreatening meals. Be careful when walking dogs, and do not allow them to wander. Alligators may look sluggish, but they move very fast. Carnivores are fast, strong, wily and equipped with claws and teeth to capture and eat meat. All wild animals survive by keen instincts and are guided by their own needs. Few wild animals thrive or even survive in captivity. They should be left in the wild. From these sightings, children learn that surprises are the nature of every beast.

Books about wild animal surprises offer reading enrichment for children. Books carry young readers closer to understanding wildlife behaviors and natural habitats. Reading offers a window into the wild animal life that surrounds people. This introduction may lead children to explore career opportunities and sporting activities in nature. Many people come to love the freedom of life in the wild.

There are no negative consequences to the encounters in Little Ray's Children's Books. Beaches, boating, swimming, flying and rolling adventures provide reading enrichment for children and set them on the path to wild animal appreciation. It can help them stay safe during unexpected wild animal encounters on land, in water or in the air. There is a hierarchy of wild creatures. Virtually any animal can become food for another. Even those at the top of the food chain, such as leopards, lions, grizzly bears, crocodiles, great white sharks or killer whales, can become injured or die to feed others.

Animals can teach people to observe, challenge and interact with others. There's no need to crash like the Foxy Armadillos into trellises or into foxes to discover that slight changes can make huge differences in our lives and in our safety. Children grow and gain skills as they probe the mystique of stingrays, sharks and armadillos in Little Ray's Children's Books.

Children should start learning about nature at a young age. Food, fuel, shelter, medicine and water and many other supplies and materials necessary to human life come from nature. Learning about survival and gaining wild animal appreciation are not the only benefits of reading enrichment for children. Children, who are familiar with tame animals, can be taught that the reaction of wild animals to the presence of humans is unpredictable. While reading about Little Ray's animal surprises, children also learn a lot about their own place in our great world. Humans also are a species of animal.

Wild Animal Appreciation

  • Wild Animal Appreciation Little Ray says:

    The Foxy Armadillos is a fun read that provides fuel for conversation with little ones about wild animal appreciation, self-sustaining agriculture, loss of habitat, small changes making huge differences, teamwork and much, much more!

  • Wild Animal Surprises Little Ray says:

    Fly across the bay and confront sharks with Little Ray, then roll into dizzying animal surprises with the Foxy Armadillos, and be back in time for dinner.

    • reading enrichmentLittle Ray says:

      Reading to children creates reading enrichment and raises appreciation for the wild animals that share our world.