These New World placental mammals live in temperate and warm habitats, including rain forests, grassland and semi deserts of Americas .
20 living species possess a set of plates called carapace, covering much of the body and in most species legs and tail as well and it’s hairless except 1 species .
Armadillo Scientific Classification
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Mammalia
Super order : Xenarthra
Order : Cingulata
Families : Chlamyphoridae
Armadillo Quick Look
Closely related to anteaters and sloths, armadillos generally have a pointy, shovel shaped snout and small eye .
The pink fairy Armadillo measures just about 6inch (15cm) being the smallest, while the giant Armadillo can be as large as 59 inch (150cm) and weighs up to 54 Kg .
Dietary preferences include insects, grubs and other invertebrates while they are omnivores.
Armadillo have sharp, long claws making them prolific diggers, which they use to make burrows to live .
They have short legs, but quick movements ( estimated 30mph), some even move quickly through water .
Gestation lasts 60-120 days with varying litter size 1-2 and young ones called pups .
The armadillo is the only known mammal to have fully developed shell
Resembling an armor-plated vehicle, outfitted with formidable protection against it’s natural adversaries and predators, unable to pierce tough hide .
This natural defence enabled it to thrive for millions of years .
The Armoured shell consists of overlapping scales known as scutes.
Bullets Ricochet Off An Armadillo
But despite that they aren’t bulletproof
‘Armadillo’ is a Spanish word meaning “little armoured one” and it stands by its name .
Armadillo hits back with vengeance when shot at, with bullet ricocheting and hitting the shooter .
Their shells are made of long plates called osteoderms that grow in skin, loosely connected for flexibility and covered by a keratin layer .
If predators like dogs, raptor does get to them, can break shells pretty easily .
Incredible Armadillo Facts
Contrary to popular belief not all Armadillos can encase themselves, but only 3 banded Armadillos ( not 6 or 9 banded ) .
They can sleep prolifically in burrows up to 11 hours a day, and forage in morning and evening only for ants, beetles ,etc .
Armadillos, having poor eyesights, rely on a sense of smell to hunt .
Armadillos are among a few animals susceptible to several human diseases, including leprosy .
They are used for food, clothing and even musical instruments .
Armadillo in nature
With 20 odd living species, according to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Armadillos are not endangered, though some like giant armadillos are endangered and a few vulnerable .
Species like Andean hairy armadillo have seen a sharp decline of 30% in their population in just the last decade alone .
While human settlement and agriculture along with hunting are some reasons of worry for armadillo.
Efforts are being made at reducing commercial hunting and consumption, getting into agreements with locals to protect these charismatic species .
By – Yash Kumar Sonkar
Content Writer (Erakina By RTMN)
Date – 10/12/2021