Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nine-banded Armadillo

When we lived in Alabama a large forested area behind us got cleared and afterwards we had various species of wildlife in our yard that had not previously visited that we knew of.  One of those critters was the Nine-banded Armadillo.  I was so excited because I didn't even know they had armadillos in our area of Alabama. Armadillo is a Spanish word meaning “little armored one.” They are certainly an unusual species ...

Of the 20 surviving varieties of the world’s armadillos, only one species can be found in the United States. While the nine-banded armadillo’s population is increasing, many of its cousins in Latin America are threatened, over-hunted and used for traditional dishes.

Their range is from southern Texas to the southeastern tip of New Mexico, through Oklahoma from the southeastern corner of Kansas and the southwestern corner of Missouri, through most of Arkansas to southwestern Mississippi. The range also includes central Alabama, Georgia and most of Florida.

Because of their low metabolic rate and lack of fat stores, cold is their enemy and spates of intemperate weather can wipe out whole populations.  Most species use their sharp claws to dig burrows and sleep prolifically up to 16 hours, then forage in the early morning and evening for beetles, ants, termites and other insects. They have very poor eyesight and utilize their keen sense of smell to hunt. Read the entire article.
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