Quote of the Day: October 30, 2011
Memo to Google

Hoisted from Comments: The Armadillos of Castle Dracula

ME: What is the significance of the armadillos underfoot at Castle Dracula?


The armadillos are a sign of status. According to folklore, vampires are obliged to sleep in contact with the soil of their native land. Unfortunately, grave earth tends to attract worms, burrowing insects and other invertebrates. While Dracula may be Lord of the Undead, he is no more comfortable waking up with his nose full of beetle larvae than any living person would be.

As it happens, these are exactly the sort of vermin that comprise the armadillo's specialized diet. An armadillo's keen sense of smell can detect invertebrates buried up to a foot deep in the ground. Moreover, armadillos have a much reduced, anteater-like dentition; so there is no danger of the vampire being inadvertently gnawed on as the armadillo sweeps the crypt clean of worms and maggots. It's a marvelous example of symbiosis, or would be if both participants were technically alive.

In the past, only the wealthiest of vampire nobility could afford to transport armadillos from the New World to eastern Europe. Vampire peasants were sadly accustomed to rising from the grave each night with all their available orifices infested by earthworms and millipedes. This is yet another reason why vampire peasants have been historically eschewed by romantic fiction.