Armadillos are primarily found in South America and central regions of the US. There are around 20 breeds of this animal, and each breed has been named based on the physical characteristics it has. Hence, you have the nine banded armadillo, giant armadillo, large hairy armadillo, pink fairy armadillo, dwarf armadillo and three banded armadillo amongst others.
Here are some facts about armadillos that you may find quite interesting: (See Reference 1)
- The smallest species is the pink fairy armadillo, which is just six inches in height. The largest species is the giant armadillo, which can attain a height of 5 feet, or 1.5 meters.
- The average lifespan of an armadillos is around 12 to 15 years.
- Armadillos do not have enameled teeth, and this affects their diet. They can consume prey like grubs, ants, eggs, termites, earthworms, moles, crickets, spiders, frogs, larvae and beetles. They are also known to be carrion feeders and this is the reason why they are at times called grave diggers. Armadillos also consume plants and can wreak havoc in gardens and agricultural land.
- The outer protective shell of the armadillo is made up of numerous bones.
- When the armadillo perceives danger, it can roll itself into a ball and hide away all its soft parts.
- If the nine banded armadillo is startled, it can leap an amazing four feet into the air.
- Armadillos can hold their breath underwater for nearly 6 minutes. They can swim, which is amazing considering the weight of their armor. The reason that armadillos do not sink in water is that they fill up their stomach and lungs with air which makes them grow double in size. The air helps to keep them afloat.
- Armadillos have poor vision, but an extremely powerful sense of smell, which allows them to detect food from far away distances.
- They have a low body temperature and hence, they cannot survive in cold temperatures. This is the reason why armadillos are primarily found in warm locales.
- These animals prefer to live close to streams, creeks, rivers, ponds and other water bodies as the moist soil can be dug easily to make burrows. Their burrows often have four to five entrances, and this allows them to make emergency exits when danger is perceived.
- Armadillos are generally nocturnal animals and tend to be active from sunset until early hours of the morning. They sleep during the day.
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