Intriguing Facts About The Nine-Banded Armadillo
The Nine-Banded Armadillo is an intriguing mammal which many people never know they encountered until they dig deeper and research more about these small creatures. With its cute cluster of nine bands on a pebble-like scaly body, the nine-banded armadillo is an animal that is easy to spot and hard to forget.
Where The Nine-Banded Armadillo Lives
The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) is a medium-sized mammal which is native to the United States, and found in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and East of the Mississippi. In some parts of the US, the armadillo has been reported to range from Kansas, east to Georgia and north to Maine.
In addition to being found in the United States, the nine-banded armadillo can also be found south of the border in Central and South America, ranging from Northern Mexico and Ecuador. Moreover, nine-banded armadillos have been reported in different parts of the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Jamaica.
The armadillo’s physical appearance
The nine-banded armadillo has an unmistakable physical appearance with its cylindrical shape and soft leathery body covered in protective plates. Although the armor gives it a rigid, immovable look, these plates are actually very flexible and are able to expand and contract with the body as it moves in its burrow.
The nine-banded armadillo typically grows from 16 to 24 inches in length. It has short, stout legs, with two claws on each front foot. As its name suggests, the nine-banded armadillo has nine hard bands of armor, each made up of small three-dimensional plates, stretching along its back. Its tail is clumped with a row of large scales. The armadillo’s color typically ranges from dark, yellowish-brown to light, reddish-gray.
The armadillo’s thick hide and armor are impressive enough, but even more remarkable are its extremely small ears. Its ears are so small that it can barely hear and suffers from a condition called dentalocal anotia, meaning its ears are closed for life.
The Nine-Banded Armadillo’s Habits
The nine-banded armadillo is mainly nocturnal, meaning it is most active at night. During the day it can often be found resting in its burrow. Armadillos are solitary animals and are rarely seen in groups. The armadillo is an omnivore, meaning it eats both plants and animals. Its diet mainly consists of larvae, ants, earthworms, and other small insects. Depending on its particular habitat, the armadillo may also feed on small mammals and lizards, as well as vegetation such as fruits, cacti, roots, and tubers.
Armadillos have rather poor eyesight and have a keen sense of smell that they use to sniff out food. They are also extremely agile runners, able to even outrun humans in short bursts.
The Armadillo’s Unique Ability
The most unique adaptation of the nine-banded armadillo is its ability to remain below ground for extended durations of time, sometimes for up to 6 months! This is completely possible due to the moisture released through the armadillo’s skin, which allows the armadillo to remain below ground without drying out.
Ringing out as much as a gallon of water every week, the nine-banded armadillo also has an impressive ability to jump up to four feet in the air when startled. If that wasn’t enough, its thick armor skin can protect it from the attack of hungry predators!
The nine-banded armadillo is a truly fascinating mammal with some incredible adaptations and abilities. From its small closed-for-life ears, to its powerful armor and amazing hydration ability, the nine-banded armadillo is an animal that is sure to be remembered long after its encounter.
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