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 for children to get up close and personal or 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 territory should do so at guarded beaches. Guards are alert to risks from marine animals, tides and currents. Moreover, they are able to initiate 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 tranquil 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, providing reading enrichment for children.

V. R. Duin had lived in Florida for a decade before she saw her first armadillo. Over time, she learned enough about these unusual, largely solitary animals to write “The Foxy Armadillos” for children. Few people are aware these armored animals inhabit our world. Armadillos are nocturnal animals that live in open and in forested habitats. Their digging and burrowing can damage lawns and flower gardens. 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. However, most critters prefer to go about their lives in places and at times when they are least likely to encounter people. Reading about wild animal surprises not only provides reading enrichment for children, it teaches them wild animal appreciation.

For most people, wildlife sightings offer thrilling wild animal surprises. The damage caused by animals attempting to share our living and recreation spaces, quickly can turn thrill into irritation or disaster. Surviving dangerous animal encounters requires keeping calm and slowly backing away. Those in a group can look bigger by spreading coats and holding equipment overhead. Yelling, screaming and throwing things may make people seem dangerous. Animals that feel threatened may flee. 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.

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. 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 and live in harmony 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 or to dispose of leftover food in a manner that may attract potentially dangerous wild animals into areas populated by people. In many places, feeding wild animals can result in a hefty fine, for good reason. Tragedy strikes when animals associate people with 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 to human and animal safety that accompany wild animal feedings. Early reading to understand the needs of wild animals provides reading enrichment for children and adults. Reading helps everyone obey the law and avoid unwanted wild animal surprises.

Bold seagulls and pigeons will snatch food from human hands. When alligators grow accustomed to feedings, they may snatch the hand that feeds them. A large alligator can pull a human into the water for drowning. Inappropriate quantities and types of food, and food wrappers, may create health risks for wild animals. 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 and living 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 never to lie down and appear as easy prey to bears, coyotes, wolves or other wild 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, while learning about the animals that roamed these lands and waters long before people arrived on the scene.

Many national parks offer opportunities to view large and small animals. On safari with professional permit holders, park visitors are likely to come across such wild animal surprises as an antelope, bear, bighorn sheep, buffalo, elk, fox, lynx, mountain goat, moose, wolf or wolverine. 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 diverse climates located in deserts, meadows, mountains, prairies, sand dunes, tundras, 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 quaint bird feeder can lure rats and squirrels to the buffet. Wild animals rarely follow human suggestion or live according to human plan. Many different plants and animals may make their home and compete for food and survival in the same place. A backyard fish pond may attract hungry, migrating birds. After stopping for rest and refreshments, the birds may continue on their way, leaving no fish behind. Feathery friends lured to a bird feeder may be pushed away by bears, raccoons, rats, snakes, squirrels or other climbing creatures. Early reading, to avoid unwanted wild animal surprises, is healthy for wild animal appreciation. It also provides reading enrichment for children.

Within the natural order, a fish pond may start out with colorful goldfish or koi fish, but end up as a stocked watering hole for animals other than birds. Alligators, crocodiles, seals, or water snakes may be attracted to wet habitats. Rattlesnakes are great swimmers and should be given wide berth. 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 the situation 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 will learn that wild animal surprises are the nature of every beast.

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

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. Animals can teach people to observe, challenge and interact with others. Children should start learning about the natural environment 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.