Interesting Facts About Armadillos

Interesting Facts About Armadillos
1. The name “Armadillo” comes from the Spanish language and means “little armored one”. It refers to the bony plates that cover the back, head, legs and tail of most of these remarkable looking creatures. 

2. Wild armadillos live in the grasslands, forests, and deserts of North and South America. One species, the nine-banded armadillo, has extended its range as far north as the United States. They can be found in several states, including Texas, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Most other species live in South America, with some also in Central America and Mexico.

3. The smallest armadillo, the pink fairy armadillo, is only six inches long. Meanwhile, the giant armadillo can be five feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds! The nine-branded variety that is found in the United States can grow up to two feet long and weigh up to 22 pounds.

4. While the animal's armor provides some protection, only the small three-banded armadillo can roll into a complete ball. Other species escape predators like wild cats and birds of prey by racing into thorny bushes or by burrowing into the ground with their sharp claws. In fact, most armadillos sleep in the warmth of an underground burrow.

5. You could say that armadillos are crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside.

6. There are over 20 varieties of armadillos and most of them live in Latin America. The nine-banded armadillo is a species that has moved northwards into the United States.

7. Armadillos have poor eyesight. They utilize their sense of smell to hunt. Their strong legs und big front claws are used for digging and their long and sticky tongue is used for extracting e.g. termites from their tunnels.

8. Amongst other things, armadillos even eat fire ants, so it comes as no surprise that they are closely related to ant eaters and sloths.

9. Prior to around 1850 the nine-banded armadillo was not found north of the Rio Grande  river.

10. They vary in size and color. The giant armadillo can get over one meter long!

11. Not all armadillos are able to close themselves in their shells. Only three banded armadillos can protect themselves by rolling up like hedgehogs.

12. The female armadillo is the only mammal that can give birth to four identical babies with one egg.

13. Armadillos are the only animals that can get leprosy like humans.

14. Armadillos can walk underwater! They don’t need to breath very often as have a very low need for oxygen. However, by gulping air into their digestive tract armadillos are able to stay afloat as they paddle. Armadillos can also go underwater and walk along a stream bottom for up to six minutes.

15. The Nine-banded Armadillo is about the size of a cat. It is usually 24 to 31 inches in length.

16. The Nine-banded Armadillo is the only North American mammal armored with heavy, bony plates. The scaly-looking plates cover the animal’s head, body, and tail. 

17. Four young are born in a burrow in March. The four young, which are always of the same sex, are identical quadruplets that develop from a single egg and share a single placenta while in the womb. Armadillos are the only mammals in which multiple young develop from a single egg with regularity.

18. The Nine-banded Armadillo is a distant cousin of the sloth and the anteater and is also the state small mammal of Texas.

19. The Nine-banded Armadillo primarily eats animal matter. This consists of ants, small reptiles, amphibians, birds and dead animals. It will also eat fruits and berries. 

20. Like most insect eating mammals, armadillos have a very long, sticky tongue to slurp up bugs as quickly as possible. They also are equipped with strong claws to tear open ant nests. Their cousins, the anteaters, have very similar tongues and claws.


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