5 Fascinating Facts About Armadillos

Where do armadillos live? Did you know armadillos now live as far north as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Louisiana? 

Native to South America, the armadillo is a unique creature blending mammal and insect with armor qualities. Each armadillo species has a unique history. This fact can make them hard to get to know.

If you are interested in armadillos but need help figuring out where to start, this short and exciting guide is for you. Here you will find a collection of armadillo facts and fascinating tidbits to learn about these unique animals.

1. They Adapt Incredibly

Armadillos are fascinating animals with incredible adaptations that have enabled them to survive in various habitats. These small mammals are characterized by their leathery armor-like shells, which allow them to roll into a ball to protect themselves when threatened. Armadillos can also swim and remain underwater for up to 6 minutes!

What do armadillos eat? Although colorblind, they rely on a keen sense of smell to hunt for food. Some insects they love to feast on include ants, grubs, and beetles, but their diets also consist of fruits, roots, frogs, lizards, bird eggs, and even small mammals like mice. 

What’s more, armadillos are host to various parasites and infectious diseases. Once found in your homes, being cautious in getting near them is essential. Or, check out Armadillo removal available here

2. They Have a Place in Mythology

In many South and Central American mythologies, armadillos were seen as symbols of protection, with the scales of their shell providing physical protection and the armor of their scales providing spiritual protection. They often featured in stories told by Mayan, Aztec, and Inca cultures. In some myths, the armadillo was said to have magical powers, such as the ability to transform itself into a bird or a jaguar.

3. They are Extremely Fast

Armadillos may look slow with their short legs and low-lying bodies, but they are speedy animals. They can travel up to five miles per hour, which is relatively fast compared to other small mammals. If they sense danger, they can reach upward of nine miles per hour.

Moreover, they can burrow underground to achieve additional speed and elude predators. As a result, armadillos are a complex animal to catch. 

4. They Love to Sleep

An armadillo sleeps between 16 and 18 hours daily and is either active or asleep, depending on the time of day or year. During the cooler months, they may even sleep up to 19 hours on a regular daily basis. They prefer to sleep alone and often hide in small, dark places such as logs or burrows. 

5. They Spread Leprosy

Are armadillos dangerous? Armadillos are the only animal known to be carriers of the bacterium responsible for leprosy, Mycobacterium leprae.

This bacterium can be spread to humans through aerosolized saliva or after contact with armadillo tissue, resulting in human leprosy. Armadillos have significantly higher M. leprae than wild animals, making them more likely to transmit the disease than other animals. 

Fascinating Facts About Armadillos You Need to Know

Armadillos have long been exciting creatures. All the interesting facts about them show how incredible and diverse this species truly is. They adapt incredibly, have a place in mythology, are extremely fast, love to sleep, and can spread leprosy. 

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