IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Description

"The tank-like Nine-banded Armadillo's range has greatly expanded northward in the last 100 years. In the mid-1800s it was found only as far north as southern Texas; by the 1970s it lived in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee; now it’s also on the East Coast. Armadillos are typically active at night or twilight. They shuffle along slowly, using their sense of smell to find food—mostly insects, and occasionally worms, snails, eggs, amphibians, and berries. They root and dig with their nose and powerful forefeet to unearth insects or build a burrow. They always give birth to identical, same-sex quadruplets that develop from a single fertilized egg. Only two mammals are known to get a disease called leprosy: humans and armadillos. This has made armadillos important in medical research."

Adaptation: The hips and the neck vertebrae of the nine-banded armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus, include several bones that are fused in order to make the spine and back relatively rigid, as an adaptation to digging. Much like a mole, the skull is compact and relatively flat, which also makes it a useful tool for moving dirt.

Links:
Mammal Species of the World
Click here for The American Society of Mammalogists species account

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© Smithsonian Institution

Source: Smithsonian's North American Mammals

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