Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)
- Body Length: 15-17 in. Tail: 14-16 in. Weight: 8-17 lbs.
The Nine-banded Armadillo is a cat-sized, armored, insect-eating mammal. Similar in form to an anteater, the bony, scaled shell of the armadillo protects it from attacks by predators. Unfortunately, armadillos often fall victim to automobiles and are frequently found dead on roadsides.
- Life History
- Armadillos are prolific diggers. They dig many burrows, as well as dig for food. The animal will not survive in areas where the soil is too hard to dig. Many other wildlife species use and benefit from abandoned armadillo burrows.
Although occasionally considered a nuisance by home owners, the armadillo's habit of digging up lawns is driven by its appetite for grubs, which can also harm lawns.
The armadillo eats insects and other invertebrates. They are skilled at digging for grubs and occasionally eat berries and bird eggs.
Although breeding occurs in July, the embryo remains in a dormant state until November. Four young are born in a burrow in March. All four young, always of the same sex, are identical quadruplets and developed from the same egg. They even share a single placenta while in the womb. Armadillos are the only mammals in which multiple young form from a single egg with any regularity.
- Found in all but the western Trans-Pecos portion of Texas in a variety of habitats; brush, woods, scrub and grasslands.
- Originally native to South America, the armadillo now ranges as far north as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Louisiana. Their distribution is often based on soil conditions, and they are not found where the soil is too hard to dig.
- The armadillo is the state small mammal of Texas.