Commonly found in Central and South America, the armadillo, also known as the tatu, is a small mammalian species called an insectivorous animal whose body is covered with a hard protective shell.
Armadillola’s shells, which consist of polygonal scales that cover their entire body, serve to protect their bodies from external factors and resemble a rosary beetle with this appearance.
Armadillo means “small armor” in Spanish and they got this name because of the armor they have. These tough but flexible protective shells do not impede their ability to move or bend. The scales on the animal’s back are made up of nine rows of muscles that round out like a ball in case of danger.
These creatures, whose sense of smell is highly developed, usually feed on insects and worms. Unlike their developed sense of smell, their eyesight is poor. Armadillos, which have a very good soil digging ability, are about 75 cm in length, including the tail.
These animals, which move extremely fast while digging the soil, also attract attention with their ability to hold their breath for a long time, such as about 6 minutes, in order not to be under the dust.
Four puppies are born at a time, and all four of the puppies born are of the same sex. Armadillos, which have many species, are separated from each other by the stripes on them.
Not social creatures, armadillos love to sleep and spend about 16 hours a day sleeping in their burrows, according to National Geographic. The absence of fat stores in their bodies and the low metabolic rate make these animals vulnerable to cold.
FEATURES OF ARMADILOS
- These animals, whose main food is insects, consume an average of 100 kg of insects per year.
- Armadillos live alone, in pairs or in small groups.
- In addition to fleeing or hiding in a burrow in times of danger, some armadillo species are known to make various sounds. For example; The Peludos species, or hairy armadillos, make wheezing sounds, while the Mulita species makes sounds similar to the rapid slamming of a human tongue.
- It can sometimes hide among the plants to protect it from its enemies, and sometimes it can jump from one place to another and frighten its enemies.
- An armadillo can dig up the ground faster than a dog.
- Their armor covers the top of its head, upper limbs and tail. It is also the only mammalian species to have this type of armor.
- Their armor protects them from danger and enemies, as well as some thorny plants and cacti.
- The armored exterior, which is absent in the lower region, is covered with soft leather and fur.
- Armadillos are one of the few living species that suffer from leprosy other than humans and are therefore used in the study of this disease.
- The ball shape they take in the moment of danger leaves only the armored parts of the animal exposed.
- It inhabits temperate and warm habitats, including rainforests, grasslands, and semi-deserts.
- They usually chase their prey at night.
- Giant armadillos sleep about 18 hours a day.
- The nine-banded armadillo is the only mammal known to routinely have identical quadruplets.
- Their most interesting feature is that although most parts of their body are covered with hard armor, their teeth are not covered with enamel. Therefore, their teeth are extremely soft.
- The softness of its teeth necessitated it to be fed with soft foods such as ants, termites, larvae (worms), and barkless insects.
- Besides insects, armadillos consume small vertebrates, plants, and some fruits for food.
- In cold weather, several armadillos in groups may congregate in a nest to share their body heat.