Armadillos vs Porcupines (1)
Announcer: From the brains behind Brains On!, it's Smash Boom Best.
Habte: The show for people with big opinions!
Molly Bloom: Hi, I'm Molly Bloom and this is Smash Boom Best, the show where we take two things, smash them together and ask you to decide which one is best. Today, two courageous critters take the stage. It's armadillos versus porcupines! Which brave and beautiful beast will claim the crown? Will it be the master of armor or the king of quills? It won't be easy, but luckily, Habte is here to help us decide. Hi, Habte.
Molly: So Habte, when I say “armadillo,” what comes to mind?
Habte: So they have, like, armor and they can kind of roll-up.
Molly: And how about when I say porcupine? What comes to mind when I say porcupine?
Habte: Many, many needles. Needle all around.
Molly: So, do you think this is going to be a tough decision, porcupines versus armadillos? Is this going to be a close debate?
Habte: I think this is going to be a really close debate. They both have really interesting ways of defending themselves.
Molly: So, what tips do you have for our debaters today? How can they convince you?
Habte: I'll say humor and facts.
Molly: Those are some great debate strategies. All right. Now it's time to introduce our debaters. Arguing for the heroic hard-shelled armadillo, it's Phyllis Fletcher. Hi, Phyllis.
Phyllis Fletcher: Hey, now.
Molly: Phyllis, in a single sentence, why are armadillos the most awesome?
Phyllis: Because they are fabulous and tough.
Molly: A very compact argument. I like it. Here to rep proud and prickly Team Porcupine, it's Tracy Mumford. Hi Tracy.
Tracy: Hey there. Feeling sharp.
Molly: Tracy, give us your take on why porcupines are the perfect creature.
Tracy: Porcupines bring their super punk attitude across so many continents showing off their thrills and quills and surviving in the wild.
Molly: Ready to rock. We are off to a very strong start, but remember, it all comes down to Habte's opinion. Win him over and you win the match. Phyllis and Tracy, are you up for the challenge?
Tracy: So ready.
Molly: Before we start, let's recap the rounds. First, it's the Declaration of Greatness. Team Armadillo and Team Porcupine will each deliver a statement in defense of their side using fabulous facts, figures, and stories. Each team will also have 30 seconds to make a rebuttal. Next, it's the Micro Round, a creative challenge that both sides have already prepared for.
Then it's the Sneak Attack, a surprise challenge that will require debaters to use all of their skills to score a point. And then, the Final Six. Our debaters will make their last argument in just six words. A sweet, short, and crucial round. Habte will be giving out points along the way, but he'll keep his score a secret until the very end. Listeners, we want you to judge too. If you'd like to keep score on an official scorecard, you can download one on our website at smashboom.org, or just make your own. Okay, everybody, are you ready?
Tracy: So ready.
Habte: Yep. Definitely.
Molly: Perfect. Then it's time for the--
Announcer: Declaration of greatness.
Molly: Our debaters will present the most fascinating facts and awesome arguments in favor of their side. We flipped a coin and Phyllis you're up first. Get us amped up about armadillos.
Phyllis: Imagine if you really don't like something that's happening, or you think someone's going to come over and try to start something. Imagine you just turn into a ball, just, oop, you're a ball and your shell is tough like a bike helmet. Your whole body is just a big sphere made out of bike helmet stuff. You're almost like a transformer. You just shapeshift and you don't have to deal with anything until you come out. That is the life of an armadillo.
The armadillo is fabulous and tough. It looks funny and it has other weird qualities, which I shall name. However, its weird qualities are exactly what make it so tough and so fabulous. I defy you to name a better animal. An armadillo kinda looks like a cross between a turtle and an anteater. It lives in South America, Central America, and the Southern US. It's a mammal. It walks around on all fours. It can be anywhere from three inches long to five feet depending what kind it is and it has a shell. A lot of the time it's tan, which makes it look like a football, and for the armadillos that can curl up and hide, those ones can look like a tiny volleyball.
The armadillo is much maligned. That means people talk mean about it, but there's no reason for that. Some animals can catch a break because people think they're fuzzy, like porcupines, but no, an armadillo might not be pretty. But what you see is what you get. As I was saying, the armadillo is fabulous and tough. The first fabulous quality is obviously its shell. The armadillo shell is really, really tough. They do have predators, but if you're trying to eat an armadillo, you're going to break a sweat and you might even break a talon or a tooth or something.
Some people don't like armadillos and consider them pests and try to shoot them. But there are stories of bullets bouncing off of their shells. It's important to say that these stories have no independent witnesses, and all the people in these stories were okay, but one time a guy shot an armadillo and the bullet ricocheted back and hit him. Another time, the bullet bounced off three things and hit someone else. But everyone is fine except one of the armadillos wasn't found and the other one didn't make it. Still, a porcupine can not do that. Plus, an armadillo can get mad and do this. (wheezy grunt) So you can mess with me if you want, but I might turn into a ball or if I can't do that, I might yell at you.
An armadillo has fabulous nails. They are these talons things they can walk on and also use to dig food out of the ground, like little bugs and worms and stuff. So it's like, if you could walk on your fork. Imagine if someone buried your food underground and you could find it by smell. They can do that! This comes in handy since they're nocturnal so they can sniff around for their food at night. Also, an armadillo has a signature scent. It's described as musky, so like, if you ever smelled animal pee in the wild or on a farm or something like that. We might think it smells bad, but does the armadillo care what we think? No. That's confidence.
I have to acknowledge a very unfortunate thing that happens to armadillos, they do get hit by cars a lot. There are a few reasons for this. Armadillos are nocturnal and they can't see very well, and one of the things they eat is roadkill, animals that were hit by cars. So they'll smell something yummy that was hit by a car and they'll be like, "Oh, what's this?" And they'll tie their napkins around their necks and go out into the middle of the road with their little fork talons ready, and boom, get hit by a car. So that's too bad. Their shells are not enough to protect them from that.
Finally, the name. It's the best name to say. It means little armored one in Spanish. In conclusion, armadillos are tough. They are smelly, they are sometimes hairy, and they scream. They may deflect bullets, but they come in peace. They just want to be awesome and eat a few worms.
Molly: An awesome argument for the little armadillo, a true ode. So Habte, what stuck out to you about Phyllis's Declaration of Greatness?
Habte: One thing that stood out to me is that when someone shot an armadillo yet a bullet bounced off of it. That's how strong the shell is. Also, they could span from three inches to five feet. Also, the sound that you made was--
Molly: It's going to be my new ringtone on my phone. Well Tracy, you have 30 seconds to poke holes into Phyllis's argument. Your time starts now.
Tracy: Okay. So, porcupines can poke a lot of holes in things, including your argument, Phyllis. That sound you made, that's like a nightmare cuckoo clock. Like, Habte's going to hear that when he's trying to fall asleep at night. And your sense of smell, that's nice, but I'm don't have to dig up dirt food and roadkill. Mmm, thank you, no thank you. Now, I'm all about looking funny. Porcupines can't argue with that, but you are like the bowling ball of the animal world. People are just going to like roll you across the landscape. I don't want to be a bowling ball. I want to be the master of my own destiny.
Molly: And time.
Molly: Phyllis, anything you'd like to say in response?
Phyllis: I'll hold my fire for my opportunity to rebut.
Tracy: Just roll up, Phyllis! Roll up like a ball.
Molly: All right, Tracy. It is time for you to bring your love for porcupines to life.
Tracy: Look, I'm not going to lie, I like porcupines because I like ridiculous creatures. Porcupines are like a cactus and a dog got smooshed together. They're like your hairbrush just woke up one morning and ran off into the woods and yelled “I'm a mammal now!”
They make me laugh every time I see one.
I would love to just scoop up a porcupine and put in my backpack but, that's not a super good idea, as we all know, because porcupines have quills.
Quills are their super power, their self-defense method and, let's be honest, their very punk sense of style.
Now, I don't want to get too technical, but there are a lot of different kinds of porcupines. You got Old World porcupines in Europe, Africa, and Asia. You got New World porcupines, and then you got the frosted hairy porcupine, the stump-tailed porcupine, the streaked dwarf, the Brazilian, the Santa Marta. At the porcupine family reunion there is a lot going on.
And this is what I find so wild about porcupines: They are all over the place. Here's Jessy Coltrane, the area biologist for Kalispell, Montana, talking about the North American porcupine.
COLTRANE: You can find them all the way from Mexico all the way up to the Arctic. And so they're really super diverse and their diet is basically horrible, it's like eating cardboard, and so these are these little fat guys that somehow can make it in the desert and then up on the Arctic tundra.
Porcupines! Full of surprises! So here's another surprise for you:
Their noses feel like marshmallows. This is real.The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., said so. When the baby porcupine Quilliam was born, the zoo announced: Porcupine noses feel like marshmallows. Can that be any cuter? !
But, as we know, no one is usually talking about porcupines' little marshmallowy, squishy, wishy noses. No, we're always talking about the quills.
A lot of people are confused about this, so allow me to clear it up:
Porcupines cannot shoot their quills. Their quills will not fly across the forest, pew pew pew, and whizz past your head.
But some of you thought that, didn't you? A lot of people still do. And while it is veryimportant to get the facts straight, I think we just have to be honest that porcupines basically spread the best rumor ever.
As forest creatures go, they're kinda small, they're not super fast, but somehow they have convinced all these people that they should be afraid of them, like: AHHHH! They might fling their quills at us, RUN!