A glimps into the world of wildlife rehabilitation…the world through a rehabber's eyes.

Dillo in a well


So as Jade and I were walking some property, prospecting a new location for the ranch, we came across an old, dry, uncovered well. 

The kind of people we are, we had to stop and check it out. As we began to look down it, we noticed claw marks on the moss on the walls.

To our amazement, there was a nine banded armadillo curled up in the bottom. We located a very long branch (the well is more than ten feet deep), and touched him with it to see if he was still alive. The poor startled creature jumped up and grunted.


 “Oh my goodness, what are we going to do?!” we both thought about it, and grabbed the catch pole I carry in my car, and a couple of leashes, hoping to lower it down and tighten it around his middle and haul him up. To our amazement, it worked. we were able to pull the poor armadillo most of the way out of the well, but when I reached up to tighten the pole just a little more, the armadillo’s slippery armor slid through the loop on the end of the pole and he fell nearly ten feet back to the bottom of the well. It was a horrible, sinking feeling…who else is going to bother to pull an armadillo out of an old well in the middle of nowhere?

By this time, it was getting dark, and we were unable to continue trying. The next day, we intended to come back with a latter and an animal crate. Well, unfortunately, none of our buddies with trucks were available, and the latter wouldn’t fit in our tiny cars. So, we had to go with plan B…bring the dillo food and water until we can get him out of the well. We grabbed some shallow light weight dishes, mealworms, and a bottle of water. Once at the well, we dropped the dish of mealworms down, and the second dish down empty. We filled it with water, and left him again.

Well, as you know, we all have “real” jobs outside of our volunteer work with WCCR….soooo, Jade and I were not able to return to save him today. Lucky for us, our director could! She took the ranch truck and a little help, and my text message directions….I thought she would never find it from my directions, but she did! Here is our fearless director, Valeri, climbing out of the well, bringing our little armadillo to freedom!

Thank goodness for armadillos tough tails! This may look harsh, but this was the safest way for both armadillo, and rescuer in this situation, and trust me, the armadillo isn’t even phased by it. Armadillos have strong, powerful tails, and strong, powerful bodies. They often “jump” by popping up into a ball to fend off predators. By carrying him by his strong tail, it minimizes the chance that he will use this instinctual defense potentially ending up in injury for rescuer and armadillo on the way back out of the well (by the way, unless you are trained in handling armadillos, I do NOT recommend this).

And this is why, my friends, we always cover up old wells. What if this armadillo had been a small child? This well is not visible from any public locations, and the nearest neighbors are acres away. This well is obviously large enough for a grown individual to get in to. That is a ten foot latter that Valeri is using to climb out of the well.

For now, the armadillo was brought to safety at the ranch, and the well will be covered to protect any other critters from meeting their demise alone in a dark hole in the ground. Go wildlife warriors! lol


4 responses

  1. Gerald

    Go Valeri! *applause*

    August 10, 2011 at 2:06 am

    • Kay

      Absolutely unbelievable!! Was the Director alone? What if she had fallen into the well, out there all by herself?? It looks like she might have been holding onto a tree root, which could have broken! She must be a magnificently dedicated wildlife person! BRAVO!!! And, another precious life saved! Hooray!!!

      August 12, 2011 at 3:07 am

  2. Kay

    Another victory for Crosstimbers Education Center! Cudos to the group, out there in Terrell, TX!

    August 12, 2011 at 3:11 am

  3. Chance

    That was awesome Auntie Val!! Lucky that you got him out…. or was it a she? Did you take him back home? Good luck!!

    August 16, 2011 at 3:07 am

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