Armadillo Baskets: Are They Dangerous?

Years ago we were told not to buy an armadillo basket because it was a health hazard. The "baskets" are really armadillo shells that curled so the feet formed the handle of a basket. A recent study found that armadillos may infect humans with leprosy (Hansen's disease). They carry the bacterium that causes the notorious disease of past centuries. It is treatable today and antibiotics can prevent the disease's disfiguring skin problems if diagnosed soon enough. It is a very rare disease in the United States, but the experts advise those in Southern states to avoid eating armadillo meat and to avoid frequent direct contact with armadillos. Nothing was said about the old, dry baskets.

armadillo basket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: As seen on eBay

 

Comments  

#6 kakurlander 2011-08-12 10:52
Back in the '70s I saw during a historic house tour a desk lamp whose shade was an armadillo (picture this basket turned rightside-up). I have coveted one ever since but have never seen another!
#5 Terry Kovel 2011-05-25 12:52
You are so right. The tail is the handle, the tiny feet are usually gone. What was I thinking!!! We will try harder but the ezine is a quick note each week and sometimes we forget to fact check enough. Nice to know our readers care enough to tell us about any errors.
#4 EwwwwFranbee57 2011-05-19 14:59
Who the heck would want one anyway? I think it's disgusting.
#3 Re: Armadillo Basketpackrat009 2011-05-19 01:20
A TV show episode last year (the doctor in the Hamptons - can't think of the show's name) was built around the fact that articles made from armadillo hide (belts, in this case) can indeed cause leprosy in humans when in close and frequent contact with the skin. My guess would be that occasional bare-skin contact with the basket would not be hazardous, esp. if hands are washed afterward... but wearing gloves would probably be wise.
#2 We had an armadillo basket for 10 years...Pistolera 2011-05-18 21:34
and we don't have leprosy. Perhaps the "tanning" process, which usually includes extreme heat on the skin of an animal to remove all the flesh, killed any of that bacteria.
#1 Another oops!ejg 2011-05-18 17:42
I'm afraid there was another oops! The poor little armadillo's feet are needed for running...it's their tail which is curled to make a handle.

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