Arnie the armadillo loves to run around, play with toys, and get into all sorts of stuff he’s not supposed to.
“Arnie is such a character,” caretaker Brigette Brouillard told The Dodo. “He has two speeds: off and really fast.”
Yet he wasn’t always this way. Back when Brouillard first met Arnie, he was sick and frail. It took months to get where he is today, but the journey has been incredible!
Arnie the armadillo was brought to Second Chances Wildlife Center as an orphan.
Brouillard is the Executive Director of Second Chance Wildlife Center in Mt. Washington, Kentucky. Over the years, she has looked after hundreds of animals from skunks to snakes to beavers, helping them get reintroduced into the wild.
“My kids often accuse me of loving the animals more than I love them,” she said.
Yet, while she has had experience caring for a wide variety of animals, her first experience with armadillos was with Arnie and his three siblings. They were orphaned and needed a place to safely grow until they could fend for themselves.
Arnie’s siblings were released back into the wild fairly quickly, but Arnie had to stay behind due to health issues.
“His blood count was way off. Oxygen levels were very difficult to maintain,” Brouillard said. “His body was just automatically bruising whether he hit anything or not and his blood wasn’t clotting. It was just one thing after another for the poor little guy.”
Unfortunately, things got worse before they got better.
Caretaker Brigette Brouillard had to do constant research to take care of his health problems.
“There was one day when I walked in to check on him and he was like ice,” Brouillard said. “It turned out that he had slipped into a coma.”
It took her around an hour and 45 minutes to revive him. For the next two months, Brouillard feared for Arnie’s life.
“Each time I would go in to check on Arnie I would be holding my breath until I saw his breath,” she said.
Having never had an armadillo before and with few resources to pull from, Brouillard spent nearly every hour of every day doing research on how to take care of Arnie. He needs constant supervision even to this day.
“My life pretty much revolves around his eating times because he cannot go a long duration without eating,” she said.
Yet, despite still requiring quite a bit of extra care, Arnie is in much better condition than when Brouillard first met him.
Arnie is now much healthier and loves to roll around in the bathtub.
Now Arnie is much healthier and has put on quite a bit of weight. He’s three pounds now, a weight that Brouillard never thought he’d achieve.
“I wanted to have a little mini party the day he turned two pounds because I was not sure that day would ever happen,” she said.
Arnie loves to steal socks and roll around in the water. Sometimes he’ll roll around in Brouillard’s tub for 10 minutes straight!
“I will have to take a shower and my shower curtain all of a sudden starts to move,” she said. “I hear some thumping around and he tries to get in the shower with me.”
Brouillard appreciates seeing Arnie run around with so much energy not just because it’s cute to watch but because the creature fought so hard to get here.
“I would say Arnie is very resilient but I think Arnie is more of a fighter,” she said. “Every day I’m just so thankful that he is here, that everything he does is just amazing to me really.”