On a hot afternoon last week, Cledson Matias de Oliveira was driving down a rural route when something in the road caught his eye.
There, standing in the middle of the street, was a little armadillo. He seemed to be flagging Cledson down.
“The armadillo stood as if he were asking for something. I believe he was asking for help,” Cledson told The Dodo. “I immediately stopped the car, without thinking twice.”
Not only was it particularly hot out, the air was also smoky from wildfires burning in the region. Cledson rightfully assumed the little armadillo was thirsty.
So, after moving him to the roadside, and fetching water from his car, the kind passerby offered the armadillo a drink.
“He drank the water with great desire,” Cledson said. “He was really happy [I stopped]. I could feel it at the moment.”
Here’s that moment on video:
“I believe he understood that I was there to help him,” Cledson said. “Normally, armadillos do not let human beings get close to them. It was magical and unique.”
After getting his fill, the armadillo continued to stay close by Cledson for a time — a gesture Cledson took as a show of trust and gratitude.
Cledson considered taking the armadillo home until the fires subsided, but he knew that such intervention is prohibited and that the best place for the armadillo was in the wild. Still, being able to help the little animal was its own reward.
“It was very pleasant and gratifying,” Cledson said.