Armadillo: 14 FAQs Help You Learn about Them

There are about 20 species of armadillo. Some armadillo is big while others are small. They are differentiated by the number of armored like plates or band on them. Many armadillos prefer sticking to the equator because they are likely to live in warm water and warm areas. All the species of armadillo are found in Central and South America. The nine-banded armadillo is also found in South America area. These creatures are not social and love spending most of their time in sleeping. When it is cold during winters a group of armadillos goes under the ground to share the heat of their bodies. The amazing thing about them is they are omnivorous. It means that armadillo species love eating meat and plants. Their diet mostly consists of insects.

After they go through a gestation period of five months, the female armadillo will produce an offspring. The burrows where they live in are made up of almost 15 feet. Twin birth in armadillo is common. The female armadillo usually gives birth to twins at the same time. These creatures can also live at one place for about 30 years. The expected median life of a three-banded armadillo is up to sixteen years. They come in wide range of colors such as pink, red or gray. These western mammals are best known for their armor which is unique in shape. They use their strong and sharp claws to dig burrows and can dig several burrows at one time. In these burrows, they seek refuge from the weather. These creatures are prolific diggers, and they can easily excavate the land for their food. They prefer to dig those areas which are loose or porous soil. The nine-banded armadillo will jump in the vertical position up to the height of 4 feet when frightened. Research has shown that this act is a trick for scaring these predators. It is the only mammal whose body is totally covered with a hard shell and bony plates. Their claws are best for digging. They usually dig the ground to find out their favorite insects.

1. What Do They Look Like?

Photograph of armadillo

Armadillo has strange looks. Many armadillos look like bald with wiry hairs on its side and belly part. These wiry hairs are also refereed as curb feelers. Their looks sometimes seem to be deceiving. The armadillo is a naked creature. The pink fairy armadillo has a shell, and it has more furs. If you give a close look, it will look like a mole with armored headdress and a cape. It has bony plates that are helpful to cover the back, head, legs, and tail of such creatures. Only these mammals have a shell on top of their body. These armadillo species have a pointy shaped snout and minuscule eyes. Their eyesight is very poor, but they have a good sense of smelling. They feel about their way by their wiry hair. The most unusual feature of armadillo is its bony skin armor. This bony skin armor is found in no other animal. The bony band on armadillo’s body is interconnected with the flexible skin on its body. The head of Armadillo is also capped with bony shield. Its tail is said to be covered with either bony plates or rings. This creature also has a much-flattened head of unusual shape with is further assisted with its long tongue. It has small teeth which are set in its jaws. The teeth grow continuously; they have no end. The teeth of armadillo also have no enamel on them. It has five clawed toes in its hind limbs, and its forelimbs have up to five curved claws.

2. How Big Do They Get?

They come in various length and sizes; pink fairy armadillo is about 3 inches in length. The live giant armadillo can be about 10 feet in length. It has a head and a tail of 160 kilograms. The giant armadillo is estimated of 1 meter long and an additional tail of 50 cm. The giant armadillo has 100 teeth. The only mammal with this number of teeth. This mammal has short and sturdy legs on its sides.

3. How Long Do They Live?

The estimated typical life span of a nine-banded armadillo is about 7 to 9 years. In normal conditions, they live up to 7 years. Armadillos are solitary mammals. They mainly feed on termites only. They can dig very well and is recognized as one of the best diggers among all mammals. They can live anywhere, in burrows, forests, and scrubs. The smaller armadillo can turn into and ball and roll around, but giant armadillo cannot roll like a ball. When someone tries to attack this armadillo, they protect themselves by quickly digging a burrow and hiding in it. It can also remain in one area for a week or two. It moves from one place to another in search of fresh food and new solitary place to live in. In spite of their large and unusual body, giant armadillo can remain as a mysterious creature. You will never find a baby giant armadillo in wild areas. This is the reason why their breeding habits still not known. The female giant armadillo can only produce one offspring at one time. Sometimes twin may also occur. The young armadillo remains with their mothers for the first one and half year. The mother armadillo does the entire nursing of the babies in that time. After one and a half year, the baby animals leaves their parents. The nine-banded armadillo is expanding in the areas of North and West every year. They usually prefer living in areas which are near water. They dig themselves burrow into the ground and cover themselves.

4. Do Armadillo Carry Diseases?

Armadillo on white background

The armadillos in the Southern United States are said to carry bacteria along with them. These bacteria can cause leprosy. The nine-banded armadillos are well-known bacteria carriers. They transmit Mycobacterium leprae to other humans in the environment. They are known to carry Leprosy as well. They look clumsy, but they also carry a shield for protection. This shield is the armor. Naturally, these creatures are nocturnal. The link between armadillo and human is not being tested properly. Armadillos spread this disease with the help of their claws. They also sometimes transmit rabies. It is the only mammal with this feature. Rabies is a virus that can paralyze and kill or hurt other creatures as well. Rabies is usually transmitted when armadillo bites someone. As armadillo rarely bite someone so there is little chance that an individual can be infected with rabies through an armadillo. If armadillo is found roaming in the morning time or if this creature is found active there are chances that armadillo is affected with a disease. This is the reason why humans should avoid such animals in their environment. You can also take help from the animal control center.

Another most common disease found in these creatures is that they carry tapeworm. The tapeworms are the parasites for digestive, and they can easily be transmitted to other humans. They are also known to carry bacteria salmonella. People who are affected with such disease can become very ill. This illness can result in serious diarrhea, high fever, and even chills. This can be so fatal that it can result in death.

5. Do They Make Noise?

Armadillo makes a sound like that of a raccoon. Their voice is very soft, and it can be heard easily by an individual. The species have less vocalization and very low wheezy grunt which is interconnected with rooting and digging in grounds. They usually make various types of noises. The noises can be grunting, squeaking or even loud squeaking sometimes. They are seen grunting when they are eating. The giant armadillo which has hairy body makes a squealing or screaming noise when they are scared. Armadillo has a very long and a sticky tongue. Its main diet consists of insects and crabs. They usually have identical armadillos whenever they reproduce.  These creatures are adapted to wet environments so they can also hide in grounds and make noises.

【Read more about Raccoon】

6. Do They Smell Bad?

Armadillo produces atrocious odor in the environment. Many people also find these creatures repulsive. When they feel threatened the smell of the scent also seems to be stronger for them. The color of armadillo ranges from brown to khaki color. You can also consider the color as pebbly gray.

7. Do Armadillos Give Birth to Four Identical Young?

Yes, it is almost true that these armadillos give birth to four identical baby armadillo at the same time. It is same like the human can give birth to one individual at one time. Although the number of offspring (pups) produced by them is all identical. The identical pups are known as polymbryony.

8. Is an Armadillo Shell Made of Bone?

A basket made by armadillo shell

Yes, the shell of armadillo is made up of bone. It is made up of thin bone plates which are called scutes. It is one in all the mammals that have a bone plate on its skin. These fossilized scutes are mainly found in the areas of South America. These species are almost fifty million years older. The scutes that are almost about forty years older are found in North America.

9. Do People Eat an Armadillo?

In many different areas of Central and North America, people usually eat armadillo. The hungry people who ate armadillo named them Hoover dogs. When people are depressed, they tend to eat armadillo. In central and south Asia armadillo is also used as a part of the meal. It is considered as a traditional ingredient in the meals of Oaxaca and Mexico. Some people in South America also have an armadillo as their pet in their houses. Some people take armadillo as an alternative to chicken. People know that they carry leprosy with them, so they make sure that the meat in not undercooked.

10. Does Armadillo Destroy Crops?

Many farmers blame the single giant armadillo for the destruction of their melon crops. Though the biggest culprits are raccoons. They suffer from the same problem like hyenas. They are known to be in wrong places at the wrong timing. When farmer visits their crop lands early in the morning, the armadillos are found their eating and ruining their crops. The giant armadillo is also known as agricultural pests. They are also responsible for digging the fields for searching insects. They think that earthworms are very beneficial for them. While searching for food, they dig holes at various places and these holes later proof to be habitat for many other wild lives as well.

11. What Do They Eat?

They prefer eating carrion like dead birds. They do not actively hunt for chicks or eggs in their nearby areas. There is also a misconception that they dig the graves for dead bodies. It is not true. They are only after dead birds and insects. They may dig, but they dig to find bugs and insects. They never actively find dead bodies for their diet. The favorite meal of this creatures is insects, grubs, and earthworms.

12. Where Do They Live?

Armadillo range expansion

They are mostly found in the forest and are not sold in companies or restaurants. Some shops in San Francisco also sell dead armadillo for the food of human. If they are tending to live in captivity, then there are chances that they may live up to ten to eleven years. They can also survive in tropical regions as well. They are living with a low body temperature. The temperature in which they survive is usually 35 to 37. They are the native to South America.

13. How Do They Mate?

The mature females usually mate late in summer and also in autumn. Their mating season usually takes place in July. The female armadillo gets pregnant in November. In these seasons they also give birth to identical quadruplets. These offspring are born with their full eyes opened. This process is called delayed implantation. If the environmental conditions are not satisfying, then the female armadillos can postpone their pregnancy until the season becomes satisfying. If four identical armadillos are produced from one egg, they are called identical quadruplets. The new baby armadillo is produced with no bony plates. They take few weeks to get soft skin. The soft skin then turns into a hard armor. If they live in the wild they can live up to 7 years, and if they live in captive, they live longer, up to 15 years.

14. What are Baby Armadillos & Parents Called?

Many mammals have different and special names for their males and females creatures. The male armadillos are only referred as Male. But it is also heard that people called them rams. Similarly, the female armadillos are also called Females. The baby armadillo is called pups. The pups can be two or four and all the pups produced at one time are identical. They are grassland habitat.


An armadillo with cool sunglasses

Armadillos are only a problem when they tend to destroy the cultivated areas of farmers. They usually destroy gardens and golf areas as well. If you want to get rid of armadillo because they are destroying your property, then you must take some serious steps towards this. The removal of these creatures can be done at any time of the year. Their long and sticky tongue helps them to hunt for small reptiles, ants and birds egg easily. They have very poor eyesight, but their well-developed sense of smell will help them to hunt their food. They are also excellent swimmers. The amazing fact about armadillos is that they can easily hold their breath while diving for up to 6 minutes. They are the best mammals when it comes to climbing. If they don’t find a proper place to dig, they will quickly climb the fence in outdoor areas and find a more suitable place. Their reproduction method is unique.  You can also use armadillo trapping program to get rid of them. The armadillo can damage the valuable property if it becomes aggressive. If you find no easy ways, you can also call the local animal control to get rid of them. You can also repel armadillo from your house or where there is the possibility of their existence. Another way is to use natural repellents which are made at home to get these dangerous and destructive creatures out of your house and building.

【Read more about Repellent】

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