Armadillo is a Spanish word meaning “little armored one” and refers to the bony plates that cover the back, head, legs, and tail of most of these odd-looking creatures. Armadillos are the only living mammals that wear such shells. Armadillos are mammals with a shell of armored plates that protect them from predators.
Only one armadillo species (nine-banded armadillo) lives in North America. The other 19 types live in South America. They inhabit grasslands, rainforests, and semi-arid areas. Most armadillo species are threatened because of habitat loss and hunting.
Here are 15 solid facts about Armadillos.
- The giant armadillo (Priodontes Maximus) is the largest of the armadillo species and can reach up to 150 centimeters (59 inches) including the tail and weigh up to 54 kilograms (119 pounds).
2. Armadillos live in temperate and warm habitats, including rain forests, grasslands, and semi-deserts. Because of their low metabolic rate and lack of fat stores, cold is their enemy, and spates of intemperate weather can wipe out the whole population.
3. Armadillos have pointy snouts and long, sticky tongues, similar to anteaters, which are close cousins. Their eyesight is poor, so they hunt with a highly developed sense of smell. They also have wiry hairs along their sides and belly, which they use to feel their way around, like curb feelers on some cars. They also have strong legs and sharp claws for digging.
4. Armadillos are mainly insectivores, with over 90% of their diet consisting of animal matter, like insects and other invertebrates. They’re also known to eat the occasional reptile or amphibian — especially in colder weather. The remainder of their diet consists of plant matter, although it’s been found that most of…