Only one armadillo species (nine-banded armadillo) lives in North America.
Other 19 types live in South America. They inhabit grasslands, rainforests and semi-arid area. Most armadillo species are threatened because of habitat loss and hunting.
The armadillo jumps because he is surprised.
Armadillos prefer to defend themselves by: diving into their burrows, hastily digging a new burrow, and the best known defense, rolling into a ball. In addition to these behaviours, sometimes when they are surprised, they will jump straight up. Unfortunately, this is no defense against automobiles, their main Texas predator!
Armadillo is a Spanish word meaning “little armored one.”
This 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.
Nine-banded armadillos always give birth to four identical young.
It is the only mammal known to do so. All four young develop from the same egg — and they even share the same placenta.
Like most insect eating mammals, armadillos have a very long, sticky tongue to slurp up bugs as quickly as possible.
They also are equipped with strong claws to tear open ant nests. Their cousins, the anteaters, have very similar tongues and claws.
You might find armadillo meat on the menu.
During the Great Depression of the 1920’s, armadillos were nicknamed “Hoover Hogs” by the people who ate them. The name was a bitter jab at President Herbert Hoover, who had promised “a chicken in every pot” but had instead presided over a collapse of the US economy following World War I.
Armadillos like to swim.
They are very good at it. They have a strong dog paddle, and can even go quite a distance underwater, walking along the bottom of streams and ponds. They can hold their breath for four to six minutes at a time. When they need to cross larger bodies of water, they swim across. Because their heavy shell makes it hard for them to float, they gulp air into their intestines to make them more buoyant. The ability to cross streams and rivers has helped armadillos expand their home range.