Today on Light Future Art, we’re going to share some interesting fun facts about armadillos. If you’re interested in learning about unusual and unique animals, don’t forget to check out some of our other most recent blog posts about baboons, geckos, or pangolins.
1. There are 21 species of armadillos, ranging in size from the incredibly tiny Pink Fairy Armadillo (six inches long and weighing less than a pound) to the rather large and aptly named Giant Armadillo (five feet long).
2. While not very social animals, armadillos tend to live together in uncomfortably cold weather and spend time together to mate. Some species of armadillos will tolerate others of the same sex even in comfortable weather, though.
3. The word “armadillo” translates into the Spanish phrase “little armored one”, alluding to the thick protective pieces of armor covering their head, back, and tail. They are the only living mammals who are covered head to toe in large armored plates which serve as excellent defense against predators. However, not all species of armadillos are able to completely roll themselves up in a tight armored ball, making it nearly impossible for the big cat or dog to get to their vulnerable underbellies, and so those who can’t go on the offensive when confronted with predators. Nine-banded armadillos jump three to four feet up in the air to scare the predators away.
4. Armadillos live in only Central and South America. Well, almost. The nine-banded armadillo is native to Central America and the Southern United States. Over the past few decades, the nine-banded armadillo has gradually migrated further North into America. Once only in Florida and Texas, this species now has moved up to Missouri and has even been found very occasionally in Illinois.
5. Insects and bugs comprise the majority of the diet of armadillos. Technically all species are omnivorous, but most of the plant matter that they eat is accidental. In the winter, bugs and insects are scarce and so they sometimes eat small lizards or frogs.
6. Armadillos are crepuscular, only emerging from their burrows at dawn and dusk to forage for food. In more Southern areas, armadillos are mostly nocturnal because of the temperature. Most of the day of an armadillo is spent sleeping. They typically spend around 16 hours every day asleep.
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