Nine-banded Armadillo

Dasypus novemcinctus

Animals of North America Back
Armadillos are covered in hard dermal plates, from their tails up to the top of their heads, excluding their feet. Although their name implies that they have 9 telescoping bands in the center, they can have anywhere from 7 - 11 of these. Each band is separated by soft skin and hair. Nine-banded armadillos also have between 12 and 15 rings on their tail.

Contrary to belief, nine-banded armadillos do not curl into a ball when faced with danger. Instead, they will run into a tunnel with their back facing the opening; once wedged, they are extremely hard to remove. However, their first response when startled is to jump up in the air. By doing so, the armadillo often surprises the predator and gives itself enough time to run away.

A female often gives birth to 4 young at a time, though genetically the offspring will be quadruplets as they are almost always produced from one fertilized egg. When the young are born, they closely resemble their adult counterparts, except smaller and with their leathery skin not yet hardened. That usually takes several weeks to occur.  


Ants, small reptiles, amphibians, birds, and carrion,  fruits and berries
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