The nine-banded armadillo, the Spanish word for “little armored one,” is the official state small mammal of Texas. It came from Mexico and it first settled in Lower Rio Grande Valley way back in the 1870s, and just two decades later, this specie already reached as far as Austin. It continued to propagate eastward and northward, until it became existent to almost all areas throughout the state; armadillos haven’t reached the Panhandle and Trans-Pecos region yet. Armadillos became a popular food down south; they call it the “poor man’s pork” back in the 1930s. However, nowadays, Texans find it unusual to eat armadillo meat. Perhaps it was because of its strong odor and taste. Not to mention the state law that prohibits the selling of live armadillos. Nevertheless, some still eat this meat, where it’s usually grilled, barbecued, baked, or turned into chili. In addition, the Lone Star State acquired this armor-plated critter as a mascot; armadillos are still being caught for fun races, and their shells are also being turned into a hat.
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