The nine banded armadillo or long-nosed armadillo is the weirdest mammal species, native to North, South and Central America. The term armadillo means “little-armoured one” in Spanish. This nocturnal animal is capable of jumping 3-4 ft straight in the air if frightened.
Despite its name, the armadillo can have 7-11 bands on its armor. Let’s find out some more information about this mammal.
Species: D. novemcinctus
The nine-banded armadillo is a medium-sized mammal, having unusual physical characteristics. The mammal has brownish-grey body color, stretching to a length of 15-17 inches. The head, body, legs, and tail of armadillo is covered or protected by a large number of bony plates or scutes. The tail is 14-15 inches long. The mammal also features narrow and jointed armor bands on its midsection that allows it to bend.
It has a pointed head with a long snout, large pointed ears, and peg-like teeth. Their front feet have thick and sharp claws that help them dig and burrow. The underparts are soft.
Their distribution range is quite wide. This mammal is found in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, and Florida. The nine-banded armadillo’s range in the US has been expanding to north, west, and east. Their population is growing day by day.
The nine-banded armadillo prefers areas like bottomland hardwood forests, brush-lands, and scrubs. These creatures can live anywhere that is warm and has food.
They are usually seen near savannas and grasslands where the soil is suitable for digging burrows. Armadillos inflate their stomach and intestine when in water. They also sink down and use their claws to walk across. They can have more than one burrow.
Here are some interesting behavioral traits of the nine-banded armadillo.
Armadillos are insectivorous. They use their sense of smell to locate prey. Their usual diet comprises of grubs, insects, and worms. Armadillos are even noticed eating fruits, small reptiles, amphibians, and bird’s eggs. The species is also attracted to the maggots.
Though solitary in nature, armadillos mate during the summer season. After the fertilization of an egg, the implantation is delayed for seven months. Thus, young armadillos are born in the spring. This mammal is capable of giving birth to four babies at a time. The young ones are identical quadruplets.
It takes a few weeks for the young armadillos to harden into a protective armor.
These species live for 12-15 years.
Here we have summed up some interesting facts about this mammal;
Armadillos are active in nature and can run at amazing speeds when attacked. Their natural predators include maned wolves, cougar, black bears, red wolves, jaguars, bobcats, alligators, and large raptors.
Armadillos are known for spreading leprosy. These are the only mammals besides humans to carry the leprosy bacillus. There are a growing number of confirmed cases where armadillos have spread leprosy to humans.
IUCN has categorized this mammal as the least concern species.
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