Trust Your Instincts
Once there was this little armadillo. He had separated from his tribe, and was starting to get a bit worried. He wasn’t old enough to be out by himself after dark, but he was old enough to start feeling a little frustrated and anxious whenever his parents started to boss him around. So while he was getting a bit concerned, part of him kind of secretly relished the idea of facing the elements on his own for the night. He was an armadillo, after all, and I’m sure you know what that means.
Many people aren’t aware that armadillos tend to be loners, and not hang out in packs. They donâ€™t hunt in packs, as they prefer to scavenge alone for various ground dwelling animals, like squirrels and small rabbits. Occasionally an armadillo will survive on only insects, but it much prefers the meaty taste of a ground squirrel, or even a house. (Although mice are the hardest to catch. They seem to have a sixth sense that keeps him just out of reach of the armadillo).
It wasn’t always like that. Back during the heyday of the armadillos’ evolutionary period, it had several different iterations of itself. For a while it was even capable of short flights, up to a hundred meters on occasion. But Mother Nature soon corrected herself, as the flying armadillo didn’t really have any advantage, from a hunter-gatherer standpoint. It was more of a passing fad than anything else.
But our hero of this particular tale was heading due east, away from the setting sun. This had been programmed into the animal’s instincts by Mother Nature herself, as it just made it easier to forage for food. They started out with the sun at their backs, and scavenged around until the sun hit its apex. When the sun was in front of them, they merely turned and headed back the other direction.
This, incidentally, why armadillos only live in areas near the equator. There used to be quite a large armadillo population in the north, but due to the angle of the rising and setting sun, they never quite headed back at the end of the day to the same spot. So for a while, armadillos seemed to migrate in huge arcs across the northern plains, but that was merely due to the structure of their environment. If you happened to build yourself a time machine, as well as a human armadillo communication device, you would likely find that the armadillos didn’t really have any idea what was going on. They just knew that when they went home every single night, somebody had moved their house. So every night they would have to build a new one, only to find the same thing happen the next day.
(Altough, one would tend to wonder why you should build such a device if you had the technology to do so. You may be better of curing cancer or something, rather than going into the past and interviewing armadillos)
So it makes perfect sense as to why this particular species of northern armadillo didn’t survive.
Back to our story.
So as this young armadillo was following his ever-lengthening shadow, he started seeing thing moving about him that he’d never seen before. These small creatures that looked like mice, but they could fly. And they flew in a strange pattern. They didn’t fly in straight lines like insects; they kind of fluttered about as if they couldn’t see where they were going.
He figured if they couldn’t see where they were going, it would be pretty easy to eat them. So he crept a couple of low flying ones that were close by, and just as he stretched out his mouth, they shrieked this really high-pitched screech, and fluttered out of the way.
Try as he might, and despite getting very close to these strange creatures, he couldn’t sink his jaws into them. It was maidenly frustrating.
Then he heard the voice from behind him:
“Young hunter. You will need to determine more stealth to catch your prey. Despite their seeming ineptness, those creatures are equipped with a guidance system much different than yours. If you want to catch them, you must enter their world. You must learn to see in the dark, and respond to sound, and not sight.”
He turned around, and saw just the faint shadow of whatever creature had spoken to him slither off into the darkness.
He turned, and watched all these delicious fluttering entities that so far had proved to be just out of his reach.
The armadillo closed his eyes, and began to listen for the creatures. He heard cacophony he’d never imagined before. The fluttering of their wings, the insects under his feet, the breeze through the cacti. Suddenly, instinctively, he leapt into the air, and sunk his deeply into a fluttering creature of the night.
It was delicious.
The lost armadillo of the day, whose ancestors had followed the sun in circles across the northern plains, was now a hunter of the night.