Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Greater Baton Rouge Zoo ringing in spring predictions with a unique soothsayer

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BATON ROUGE - Punxsutawney Phil isn't the only one casting in weather predictions ahead of spring. This year, the Greater Baton Rouge Zoo took advantage of another special celebration, bringing in an entirely different critter to peek at his shadow. 

"It's not just Groundhog Day, it's Armadillo Day," said Jennifer Shields with the zoo.

That's one of the reasons Shields and other zoo members decided to bring out an armadillo. The free event will commence at 10 a.m., an opportunity to get a local prediction and learn about Max, the only southern three-banded armadillo in the city.

"They are native to South America, so they're related to the armadillos we see around here," said Shields, "but Max is full grown so this is as big as he's gonna get. He's seven years old, so he's on the young side of this species; they live quite a long life span. Three-banded armadillos are the only armadillo that can truly roll up in a complete ball."

Max is a Special Survival Plan Animal, meaning he could play an important role in the population of the species. 

"It is a cooperative effort amongst zoos to breed animals to have a sustained population.

His job today is a bit easier though, as Max is an expert in the craft.

"In Max's world, all he sees is light and shadows, so seeing his shadow, is every day for him, that's about all he can see. Their eyesight is so poor, they see no color whatsoever. It's sort of like driving through life with Vaseline on your windshield."

For a local prediction on when spring will come this year and the opportunity to meet a really special animal, the Greater Baton Rouge Zoo is hosting its Armadillo Day event Thursday at 10 a.m..


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