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An armadillo is an omnivorous mammal native to Central and South America. There are 21 existing species and only one is found in the United States. It is best known for its armor shell. They’re the only mammals that have a shell.
See the fact file below for more information on the armadillo or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Armadillo worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Armadillo means “little armored one” in Spanish. Its body consists of bony, leathery plates that look and feel like armor. They originated in South America and most species still inhabit that region up to the present day.
- The Xenarthra lineage – the superorder which they’re a part of – makes them related to anteaters and sloths. Their traits also trace back to the glyptodonts – a mega mammal that existed in the Miocene era, which had a similar armor shell.
- In the Cenozoic era, armadillos were found only in Latin America. At the start of the Pleistocene era, migration of the species became possible. In the present day, the nine-banded armadillo is the only species present in North America, particularly in Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Missouri and Indiana.
- Armadillos have a pointed snout, a flat head, small eyes, short legs, sharp claws, an armor-like skin with a thin hairy covering all over its body. The overlapping bony plates covering its head, legs, back, and tail are called scutes. The bands on their body determine their names. The color of their shells varies too. They can be dark brown, black, gray, red, pink and even yellow.
- Armadillos are nocturnal animals. They are active at night and can sleep 16 to 19 hours in the day. One species called the pichi not only snoozes a lot but also hibernates every winter.
- Armadillos are adapted to tropical and temperate climates because they lack areas in their body where they can store fat.
- An armadillo is predominantly a solitary creature. It gets together with other armadillos during mating season or in winter when they gather together in burrows to keep warm.
- An armadillo’s daily activities include foraging, eating and burrowing.
- It is an omnivorous animal, which means it eats both plants and animals. Its diet consists mostly of invertebrates such as insects, larvae, worms and grubs. They can also be found eating small snakes, lizards, ants, termites, fruit and some plants. Armadillos use smell to locate food because they have poor eyesight. Their claws come in handy when digging for food or creating burrows.
- Females give birth to one to twelve babies at a time. Baby armadillos are called pups. The gestation period is from two to five months, depending on the species. It takes nine to twelve months for pups to fully mature. The average lifespan of an armadillo is 16 years but they can survive up to 30 years.
- It is not safe to eat the meat of armadillos because it can harbor and spread leprosy and Chagas disease. The bacteria Mycobacterium leprae thrives in an armadillo’s body. It is believed that they contracted this disease in the 15th century.
- To protect themselves from predators, they crouch down or dig a hole to lower themselves into. Their soft stomachs are not covered by armor so they have to protect it. One defense mechanism of armadillos is curling up into a ball. Not all armadillos can curl up into balls though. Only two species can do this: the Brazilian three-banded and Southern three-banded armadillo.
- The screaming hairy armadillo isn’t just equipped with its armor shell, it also has the ability to let out loud and alarming sounds when threatened – hence its name.
- The pink fairy armadillo, the smallest species, measures up to 15 centimeters (6 inches) long. It got its name from its pink armor. It is found in Central Argentina.
- The giant armadillo is the largest species. They weigh 70 up to 180 pounds and can reach up to five feet in height.
- Other species of armadillo are the naked-tailed armadillo, the long-nosed armadillo, the six-banded armadillo, the horned armadillo and the greater fairy armadillo.
- The Brazilian three-banded armadillo is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List, but most species are not. However, they are vulnerable to threats like habitat destruction and dogs.
- The state animal of Texas is the armadillo.
- In the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, the Brazilian three-banded armadillo was the official mascot.
- Their armor shells were used to make an Andean ten-stringed lute instrument called a charango, but they’re now made of wood.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about armadillo across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Armadillo worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about an armadillo which is an omnivorous mammal native to Central and South America. There are 21 existing species and only one is found in the United States. It is best known for its armor shell. They’re the only mammals that have a shell.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Armadillo Facts
- Armadillo Sketch
- Armadillo ABCs
- All About the Armor
- Armadillos in the U.S.A.
- Name the Species
- Foraging Facts
- Building Burrows
- Like the Armadillo
- FIFA Mascot
- Me and the Armadillo
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Link will appear as Armadillo Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 11, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
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