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Did You Know? Nine-Banded Armadillo Facts

Nine-banded armadillo facts are great for kids.

Seldom will you find a more summer-loving animal than the nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus). This is one of the most widely found armadillo species, and it's also bigger! The nine-banded armadillos are the only types of armadillos that are observed within the United States but aren't seen in the far northern states. Instead, most live in warmer states like Florida and Texas. The species is also commonly found in Central and South America.

Apart from the trademark keen sense of smell and hearing capacities, these armadillos are, in general, nocturnal animals and cannot really see well. However, its hard shell armor keeps it safe from predators. Common predators include puma and mountain lions. Also, when frightened, the nine-banded armadillos are known for leaping high. These animals live to be around 20 years of age and prefer a warm and dry habitat. Breeding takes place during the late summer months, and the nine-banded armadillos usually have four babies.

Find the nine-banded armadillos interesting? Then, keep reading to learn more nine-banded armadillo facts. For more relatable content, check out these fun animal facts on the white-tailed prairie dog and deer mouse.

Nine-Banded Armadillo Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a nine-banded armadillo?

The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) is a medium-sized nocturnal mammal.

What class of animal does a nine-banded armadillo belong to?

Nine-banded armadillos belong to the class Mammalia, to the order Cingulata, and to the genus Dasypus.

How many nine-banded armadillos are there in the world?

As a common species, the population of nine-banded armadillos hasn't been studied properly. Moreover, the number seems to be rising, and this is the only species of armadillo that currently lives in the United States.

Where does a nine-banded armadillo live?

The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) is not a North American species. Instead, these animals actually managed to make it to the United States and expanded their population in warmer states like Florida and Texas. Currently, the species is widely found in North, Central, and South America.

Because of its uneven range, the nine-banded armadillo cannot really be pinpointed to be endemic to any particular area. An interesting fact about the population of the United States is that these animals are said to originate from a small group that was originally from the Rio Grande area.

What is a nine-banded armadillo's habitat?

The main habitats for this terrestrial mammal include tropical rainforests, savannahs, scrublands, and open prairies. These animals prefer to inhabit warmer regions and habitats where they can regulate the body temperature. Even in the United States, the population only thrives in warmer states like Texas and Florida. Anyplace with temperatures lower than 71.6°F leads to shivering in these animals. Moreover, armadillos often make long burrows and can spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping in these holes. In the USA, the armadillos have only been spotted in Nebraska and Illinois, which are not too far north.

Who do nine-banded armadillos live with?

Nine-banded armadillos are nocturnal and solitary animals that spend a large part of their lives in deep underground burrows. The species aren't aggressive to each other except for the mating period. You can find the female armadillos sharing a burrow with their offspring.

How long does a nine-banded armadillo live?

In general, the lifespan of nine-banded armadillos is said to be 7-20 years. The young armadillos' higher mortality rate compared to the adults is mainly because of natural predators. Moreover, when kept in captivity, some armadillos have managed to live until 23 years of age. A huge number of armadillos are also killed by humans every year for their meat.

How do they reproduce?

One of the really interesting aspects of the nine-banded armadillo is its reproduction process. The mating season lasts between June-July in the northern hemisphere and between November-December in the southern hemisphere. The females only ovulate during the summer season, and during this time, it can be seen in a pair with the males.

After copulation, the male's sperm usually fertilizes a single ovum. The female adults can pause the implantation of the egg up to 14 weeks to give the young enough nutrition and favorable conditions. This technique is also present in leopard seals. In most cases, a single egg gets divided into four identical embryos leading to identical quadruplets.

After implantation, the female adults go through a four-month gestation period. The young armadillos look quite similar to the adults, and these young can start the reproduction process as soon as the next breeding season. It may take up to two years for a young nine-banded armadillo to reach full sexual maturity.

What is their conservation status?

Currently, the nine-banded armadillo is classified under the category of Least Concern in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Nine-Banded Armadillo Fun Facts 

What do the nine-banded armadillos look like?

Nine-banded armadillo facts help to know about wild animals.

The nine-banded armadillo gets its name from the nine scaled bands present on its back. However, all members of the species may not have nine bands depending on their geographical location.

Like other armadillos, the outer body of this species is covered with armor made of hard scales. Even though this protection is quite hard, the armor provides enough flexibility for the animal to move around and burrow into the ground. Apart from the armor, the hard scales are also present on top of the head. However, the ears are hairless and naked with bumpy skin. In addition, it has a long pink snout that gives a pig-like look.

Interestingly, the underside of these armadillos is covered with a layer of thick skin. Also, the limbs are fairly short yet strong to help the animal burrow into the ground. In addition, these nine-banded armadillos have small peg-like teeth that are perfect for consuming insects. Another fascinating body part is the sticky tongue that can easily catch insects.

How cute are they?

It will really be a sin if we don't call these animals cute. Even though the nine-banded armadillo lacks the ability to turn into a ball, it still looks quite cute, especially when creating the burrows. Also, the pink skin of the young looks delightful.

How do they communicate?

The main behavior of communication in nine-banded armadillos is through scents. These scent glands are present on eyelids, noses, and feet. Moreover, the keen sense of smell present in this species helps it to get around searching for food at night and to stay protected from predators. Other than that, armadillos also have a keen hearing. A chucking sound is also made to communicate with other members of the species.

How big is a nine-banded armadillo?

The average head-body length range of the nine-banded armadillo is around 15–23 in (38.1–58.4 cm). Also, most also have a tail length of 10.2–20.9 in (26–53 cm), making the body even bigger. Moreover, the usual height range is around 5.9–9.8 in (15-25 cm) when the animal stands with the help of its scales. In contrast, the pink fairy armadillo only has an average body length range of 3.5-4.5 in (8.9-11.4 cm).

How fast can a nine-banded armadillo run?

The average speed range of most species of armadillos is around 30 mph (45 kph). Moreover, the nine-banded armadillos are especially known for their impressive jumps. When frightened, it can jump as much as 3–4 ft (0.9-1.2 m).

How much does a nine-banded armadillo weigh?

The common weight range of nine-banded armadillos is around 5.5-14.3 lb (2.5-6.5 kg). Some can be heavier than that.

What are the male and female names of the species?

In general, the males are known as boars, while there are no specific names for the females. Even though no sexual dimorphism is seen in this species, the males tend to be heavier than the females.

What would you call a baby nine-banded armadillo?

A baby nine-banded armadillo is known as a pup.

What do they eat?

You may have noticed that the nine-banded armadillo has a long snout. Just like anteaters and other types of armadillos, this species also prefers to eat invertebrates and insects. Rather than a hunting species, these are opportunistic feeders. Interestingly, these armadillos have a diet containing more than 500 food items. Beetles are a frequently consumed food source in the nine-banded armadillo diet, along with termites, millipedes, ants, grasshoppers, and arachnids.

Its diet may also include reptile and bird eggs that it can hunt from burrows. Moreover, its armor protects from insect bites, and the armadillo may also roll on the ground after consuming food like ants. At times, these mammals will also feed on fruits, berries, fungi, and nuts.

Are they dangerous?

No, the nine-banded armadillos aren't dangerous to humans, they don't even bite. The species is mainly found in the wild, and the burrows are far away from human-dwelling regions. Some humans do fear this species because of its tendency to carry the bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae that causes Hansen's disease. However, it's unlikely for humans to actually get infected by this wild animal. Also, the nine-banded armadillos don't usually bite humans, but if you are unfortunate enough to face this issue, make sure to see a health practitioner as soon as possible.

Would they make a good pet?

We are sorry to break your hopes of getting a nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) as it is illegal to keep these wild animals as a pet. Even though these armadillos have a considerable population in the Americas, it is still a protected population.

Did you know...

Nine-banded armadillos are great at swimming, and the species can hold its breath for up to six minutes. Moreover, it can even walk underwater to cross streams.

Every year many nine-banded armadillos become roadkill because of sudden leaping on highways.

In some parts of the American continent, it is also called the nine-banded long-nosed armadillo or the Hoover hog.

Can the nine-banded armadillo roll into a ball? 

One of the cutest things to experience is when an armadillo rolls into a ball. Countless cartoons have increased people's expectations of seeing every armadillo in the act. However, all species of armadillos do not have that special quality, and nine-banded armadillos also lack that cute gesture. Only the two species of three-banded armadillos have the capability of rolling its body into a spherical shell.

Do nine-banded armadillos carry leprosy? 

Yes, recent studies have confirmed that as much as half the population of nine-banded armadillos may carry Hansen's disease, which is also known as leprosy. However, it has also been pointed out that wild armadillos may not play a large role in transmitting the disease to humans. It does still remain a huge threat in areas like the Brazilian Amazon, where these armadillos are often hunted for meat consumption.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals, including yellow-footed rock-wallaby facts and Asian house shrew facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable dancing armadillo coloring pages.

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