Armadillo Day to stay in hibernation due to COVID-19 pandemic

Terry Boothe, pictured here at his West Pole ranch in Bee Cave, said Armadillo Day helps to preserve Texas heritage. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Terry Boothe, pictured here at his West Pole ranch in Bee Cave, said Armadillo Day helps to preserve Texas heritage. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)

Terry Boothe, pictured here at his West Pole ranch in Bee Cave, said Armadillo Day helps to preserve Texas heritage. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)

Tradition has it that a certain rodent, a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, predicts the length of winter in the U.S.

That rodent, which fifth-generation Texan Terry Boothe described as more of a varmint, has no rights in the Lone Star State, Boothe said. The armadillo is the official small mammal of Texas; therefore, the animal better represents Texas culture, he said.

“Why don’t we have an armadillo on the news instead of this groundhog from Pennsylvania? We can do it ourselves; hence emerged Bee Cave Bob,” Boothe said.

Naming the armadillo “Bee Cave Bob” helped characterize his idea, but Boothe said he needed Texas animal trainer Ralph Fisher to create Texas Armadillo Day in 2010. The event is now held each year on Groundhog Day at Boothe’s West Pole ranch just off West Hwy. 71.

However, with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing and Groundhog Day fast approaching, Boothe said, Bee Cave Bob will not visit.



Each year, a few hundred people attend Armadillo Day, and Boothe said he does not want to risk the health of those who come to his ranch.

“Right now, discretion is the better part of valor. I feel like it is the honorable thing to do,” he said.

On Texas Armadillo Day, Bee Cave Bob emerges from a tube on a track set up for the occasion. If the armadillo wanders out of the tube and stays out, an early spring is on its way. If Bob ducks and covers back into the tube, six more weeks of winter are coming for Texas. This is a twist on the procedure for Groundhog Day, where the forecast is based on whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow.

Boothe said he is optimistic the event will return—maybe even by next summer.

By Greg Perliski

Editor, Lake Travis/Westlake & Northwest Austin

Greg joined Community Impact as an editor in November 2020. In the communities he covers, Greg reports on local government, transportation, real estate development and business. He has written for newspapers, online publications and corporate communications teams. Greg earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin.