Habitat & Range
Armadillos are native to South American but can also be found in Central and North America. They inhabit warm, rainy areas such as prairies, scrublands and tropical rainforests. Their range has been rapidly expanding over the last century and is predicted to continue until they reach as far north as Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Armadillos generally range between 5 and 14 pounds and body length ranges from 15 to 23 inches. They have a long, tapered tail that is usually 10 to 21 inches in length. Their body is covered in a hard, grey shell that serves as armor to protect the head, back, sides, legs and tail. The under side of the body and inner surface of the legs lack armored protection and are covered in thick skin and coarse hair.
The armadillo is an insectivore that feeds on grubs, beetles, ants, termites and worms. They forage for meals by thrusting their snout into soil or leaf piles and digging in erratic patterns. Their sensitive nose can detect a potential meal through eight inches of soil. In the winter months, when prey is sparse, they will feed on small reptiles, amphibians, and bird eggs.
Reproduction & Lifespan
Mating season occurs in July and August in the Northern Hemisphere and November through January in the Southern Hemisphere. A single egg is fertilized, but implantation is delayed for 3 to 4 months to ensure the young will not be born during an unfavorable time. Once the egg is implanted, it divides into 4 identical embryos. After a 4 month gestation, the mother gives birth to quadruplets in her burrow.
Armadillos have an estimated lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
Fantastic Fact Leap of Faith
When sufficiently frightened, an armadillo can jump straight upward about three to four feet into the air. While this can be a successful defense mechanism, it is sometimes more problematic than effective in urban areas where they risk jumping into the undercarriage of a vehicle.
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