Amazing Armadillo Adaptations Explained: Do Armadillos Lay Eggs? | Kidadl


Amazing Armadillo Adaptations Explained: Do Armadillos Lay Eggs?

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An armor, worn to defend against external attacks is something that humans had to expend their brainpower to come up with.

In the case of armadillos, Mother Nature has already bestowed this upon them. Their name itself equates to 'little armored one' when translated into English from Spanish and they are the only mammals with hard shells.

According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), there are 21 species of armadillo. Armadillos generally live in Central and South America, but the nine banded armadillo (scientifically known as Dasypus novemcinctus) is only found in the United States. They are believed to have close relations with mammals including anteaters and sloths.

These mammals have long, pointy snouts and sticky tongues, comparable to anteaters. They have a highly-developed sense of smell and tiny hairs along their stomach to feel their way around. They have powerful legs and claws for digging burrows in the soil. Armadillos have small, peg-like teeth that do not usually cause any harm or injury. These creatures vary in size; their sizes range from 15 cm (6 in) to around 76 cm (30 in) and even up to 150cm (60 in).

Armadillos hate cold weather so they can survive only in warm regions, which even include deserts and wild forests. They are unable to maintain their body temperature by themselves to survive. Armadillos are solitary creatures. They spend most of their time sleeping in their burrows and only come out when foraging for food. However, they do get together during the mating season or to keep themselves warm during the cold weather.

After you have read these amazing armadillo facts to find out the answer to do armadillos lay eggs, do check out the answers to what do armadillos eat and are armadillos dangerous?

How many eggs do armadillos lay?

Armadillos do not lay eggs. A female armadillo gives birth to live babies, which are called 'pups' after a gestation period of three to five months, which can extend up to a period of eight to nine months due to something called delayed implantation. Like some other mammals, armadillos are also capable of pausing their pregnancies. It means that the female can halt the development of the embryo for quite some time if she faces stress or a dangerous crisis.

The reason why an armadillo pregnancy can last up to eight or nine months easily even though their actual gestation period is only five months is that armadillos have the ability to halt their pregnancies when they experience stress. Mostly, this delay lasts for about four months after the fertilization occurs.

Their ability to suspend pregnancy was first discovered in March 1986. Five of seven female armadillos that were captured in Florida in November 1984 and shipped to a London laboratory gave birth despite the fact that they were isolated from males during this time. They gave birth a year and four months after their last possible contact with males and a year and eight months after their last mating season in the wild. The age at which they mature sexually varies across species. This shows that the delay had been prolonged, however, this is not always the case. Being captured and shipped to England would have increased their stress, resulting in this delay. Females getting pregnant after being captured show the usual three to four-month delay and therefore, little impact is observed due to captivity.

Do armadillos always have 4 babies?

Armadillos are primarily able to give birth to one to twelve babies in one litter. While the number of babies a seven-banded armadillo can give birth to is 8-15 babies, a nine banded armadillo gives birth to only four identical babies.

The baby armadillos feed on their mother's milk for two to four months after birth before they're completely weaned and start eating other things. Armadillos are omnivore animals and their diet consists largely of insects and larvae, according to the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management. Armadillos also eat invertebrates like ants, beetles, termites, and other insects after digging them out with their sticky tongues. Occasionally, these mammals act as scavengers for they also eat dead animals.

Did you know only the three banded armadillo can curl its head and back feet and contort its shell into a hard ball to surprise the predators?

Why do armadillos give birth to quadruplets?

Armadillos are placental mammals, i.e. they require a placenta while growing in their mother's body. Female nine banded armadillos have always given birth to four identical pups. The female produces only one egg and if fertilized, it splits into four identical embryos, each of which has its own placenta. Hence, these identical pups are always of the same sex. The mothers dig a big and deep burrow of about fifteen feet before these mammals give birth, in order to accommodate herself and her babies comfortably.

Scientists are still unsure as to why nine-banded armadillos are born in a litter of four identical babies but this might be an adaptation mechanism aiming to expand their number in the world even though the area that is available for implantation in the mother's uterus is tiny.

Asexual Reproduction In The Nine-Banded Armadillo

Mating in these animals occurs in their north as well as southern habitat during a long mating season which may extend up to three months. During this period, the male armadillos start searching for females to mate and the courting begins. If the female is ready for breeding, she lifts her tail to the male to show her consent. If she isn't, the males can get kicked or just simply brushed off. The fertilized egg develops inside the body of the female armadillo and she gives birth to a live baby armadillo in the burrow.

Nine banded armadillos reproduce through polyembryony. This is a process in which a sexually produced embryo splits into two or more identical embryos inside an armadillo.

Armadillo (Euphractus Sexcinctus) on the ground

Do armadillos give birth or lay eggs?

Giant armadillos have a bony, plate like, or rather, an armor like structure called the carapace that forms an envelope around their head, back, legs, and tail. It serves to protect them against their predators. The names of the species arise from the number of movable bands in their carapace. The shell is flexible and has softer skin underneath that helps to widen and contract between the bands. The three banded armadillos are a variety with three movable bands while the six banded armadillos are those with six movable bands. The same is observed in the nine banded armadillos.

As per research, the answer to the question 'do armadillos lay eggs?' is that these hairy animals, whose skin is covered in scales, do not lay eggs. Armadillos give live birth to the babies. The mammals do not lay eggs and instead give birth to their young ones. After the mating process is completed, the babies will grow within the fertilized egg inside the mother. After the gestation period is over, these mammals will give birth to their young babies.

What should you do if you see a baby armadillo?

Since armadillos are wild animals, these mammals can be somewhat aggressive. However, baby armadillos aren't harmful. If you see a baby armadillo suddenly, it'd be for the best to leave it as it is. In most situations, the mother will be in the vicinity so it isn't a wise choice to tease or harm it. Another thing to be noted is that armadillos are easy to be run over by cars. Therefore, if you see a deceased mother nearby, contacting a wildlife rescue center or veterinarians would be the best option.

The nine banded members of the armadillo species are commonly used in leprosy research because they are found to be naturally susceptible to leprosy and because the microbe does not grow in an artificial medium developed in a laboratory. In addition to humans, nine banded armadillos are other natural hosts of M. leprae. M. leprae is an infection that is common amongst armadillos. It closely resembles several structural, physiological, and functional characteristics of leprosy seen in humans. Moreover, armadillos are just the available non-human hosts that acquire substantial neurological involvement with M. leprae.

Due to the heavy burdens of bacilli these mammals harbor, nine banded armadillos have become the hosts of choice for producing large amounts of M. leprae. They harbor up to 1012 M. leprae per animal.

Now, these armadillos are progressing as important models for the pathogenesis of nerve injury in leprosy. The genome arrangement for this species of armadillo has benefited the researchers as they can attempt more sophisticated molecular research and formulate armadillo-specific reagents.

These mammals often move away from their burrows and come into yards in search of insects where they will dig into the ground to locate insects for their diet. A frightened armadillo usually jumps in the air to draw away the attention of the predators or runs away. When confronting a human, it is not likely that the pest will bite. Armadillos are not usually dangerous to humans, however, these animals may cause problems by digging near foundations or damaging gardens.

When a predator is around, armadillos usually stand still but if the threat is a serious one, the animal will scratch and bite. Through clawing and biting, these armored animals can transfer leprosy, rabies, and other toxic diseases.

Dogs and cats can often have a quarrel with an armadillo. Infection can spread to family members if your pet has caught diseases from an armadillo's scratch or bite. It is best to keep these animals away from your home.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do armadillos lay eggs then why not take a look at do armadillos bite, or armadillo facts pages?

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