Nine-banded armadillos, Dasypus novemcinctus, get their name from the joints in their leathery skin. Originally from the southwest of North America, armadillos migrated to Florida where they are now considered naturalized. While their eyesight is limited, they have a keen sense of smell and use their snout to root out worms and insects. They live in complex borrows. Females lay a single egg that divides to produce four identical offspring all of the same sex, either four males or four females. To cross small bodies of water, they submerge themselves and walk along the bottom. For wide bodies, they inflate their stomachs for buoyancy and swim across. They will jump in the air if startled, which leads to many traffic fatalities. Click on the image for a larger view.
One of the government facilities on Merritt Island. The dome is pointing toward the Kennedy Space Center. The building does not seem to used: the gates and fencing are neglected. Click on the image for a larger view.
Merritt Island is Florida’s largest barrier island. It is home to the Kennedy Space Center and the 140,000 acre Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The mangroves can give the illusion of it being more land than water. although the very still heron in the background illustrates the water is not deep. Click on the image for a larger view.