Armadillo Facts

Nine-Banded Armadillo.jpg1. The term “armadillo” in Spanish means “little armored one.”

2. Armadillos are very good swimmers. In fact, they can hold their breath for as long as 6 minutes. This is because they can store oxygen in their bronchus and trachea.

3. When giving birth, female armadillos have four babies at the same time. They are always the same sex and perfect quadruplets. This is because when their egg is fertilized, it splits into four parts, resulting in four identical babies.

4. Armadillos typically sleep for more than 18 hours a day.

5. There are currently 20 species of armadillos in the world today.

6. Armadillos can make themselves float across the water by inflating their intestines and their stomachs with air.

7. Besides humans, armadillos are the only animal that can get leprosy.

8. If the reproductive organs of an armadillo get disconnected from their body, the organs are still active.

9. It is possible to housebreak an armadillo.

10. Currently, more than 50 million armadillos are living in the United States.

11. The most common type of armadillo in the United States is the nine-banded armadillo. This refers to the number of bands on the armadillo’s armor.

12. Armadillos eat mostly insects. They can dig easily with their claws and then use their long tongues to slurp up the insects. They enjoy a diet heavy in fire ants, making the armadillo one of the only animals to eat this destructive insect.

13. When startled, an armadillo will jump 3 to 4 feet vertically in the air.

14. Armadillos can live between 4 and 7 years when in the wild. In captivity, they have been known to live as long as 10 years.

15. After being born, it only takes a few days for an armadillo’s skin to harden.

16. Female armadillos can delay fertilization of their egg for as long as 14 weeks after conception.

17. The armadillo is the only mammal that has a shell that is as strong as armor.

18. Armadillos are found in several colors, including black, gray, yellow, brown or pink.

19. Armadillos like to live solitary lives. They rarely share their burrows with other armadillos. They will share a burrow, however, when they are mating with each other.

20. The ideal place for armadillos is along creeks, streams, and ponds because they need to have soil that they can easily dig. Digging into the soil is how they find their food and make their shelter.

21. The gestation period for armadillos can last from two months to four months in general, or 60 to 120 days.

22. During the Great Depression, people used armadillos for food. In Central America, armadillo meat is a common part of the region’s diet.

23. The armadillo population is in decline for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons include predation, being hunted by dogs, human encroachment, and hunting for the purposes of making musical instruments out of them.

24. Armadillos can climb fences and small trees if they are unable to dig under them.

25. The screaming hairy armadillo is so-named because it will scream very loudly if it is touched or if it feels threatened.