Armadillos are some of the strangest looking animals in the world. These animals have hard armor to protect them from predators and they can roll themselves into a ball or barrel as further protection. This armor gives them a very unique look.
Armadillos are part of the Dasypodidae family and there are 21 species of this animal. Some of the species of armadillo are distinguished by the number of bands they have on their armor. Armadillos can reach an average length of 75cm including its tail. But the giant armadillo can grow up to 150cm in length and can weigh up to 54kg. The pinky fairy armadillo is the smallest armadillo species and only reaches a length of up to 15cm.
Armadillos are omnivores. They eat both plant and animal matter but they only eat certain types of plants and insects. They are also mammals and need their mothers to survive during the first few weeks after birth.
Here is a quick look at some of the most common foods that these animals love to eat.
Armadillos are mostly insectivores. 90% of their diet consists of insects. They have long tongues that can reach deep down into holes so they can catch insects. These animals will eat all sorts of insect types including termites, beetles, grubs, cockroaches, scorpions, centipedes, grasshoppers, larvae, just to name a few. They are especially fond of termites and love to dig around in termite nests for a tasty bite to eat.
Larger armadillo species will also hunt and eat small animals such as reptiles such as lizards and amphibians such as frogs and newts. This is however not a very common food source for these animals since they mostly prefer insects.
When armadillos find nests of birds and reptiles, they will also feed on the eggs of these animals.
Armadillos also enjoy eating plants. They are quite fond of vegetable matter and love to eat delicate leaf roots. Plant matter only makes about 8% of the armadillo’s diet. They enjoy eating all sorts of vegetables such as lettuce, leafy greens, and pumpkin. These animals also eat fruits such as berries and wild fruits they find in their natural habitat.
Armadillos will scavenge for food if they get hungry. They will feed on the carcasses of all sorts of dead animals they find in their environment.
These mammals also enjoy drinking water. They can go for a long time without water but they will eventually need to drink some water to stay hydrated. They can also swim or rather cross bodies of water by inflating their intestines so they can float. These animals can also hold their breath for up to 6 minutes and will use their claws to crawl along the bottom of water bodies like rivers.
Since armadillos mostly feed on insects and plant matter, carrion meat is probably the biggest diet variation they have. They will only feed on this food type in harsh conditions.
Armadillos are fairly easy to feed since they are omnivores and can consume plant and animal matter. They mostly feed on insects but do require some plant matter so they will get all the needed nutrients to stay healthy. They also need access to freshwater.
In the wild, these animals can only eat foods they find in their natural environment. They mostly focus on insects. They cannot see very well but have a great sense of smell. They will also use their long tongues to reach deep into ant holes so they can catch termites or larvae for feeding. They will also feed on natural plant matter and wild fruits they find in their environment.
These animals are not domesticated and don’t make ideal pets. They are however sometimes kept in captivity in conservatories. In captivity, they need lots of space so they can roam around and dig at night. They are fed on carrion meat, insects, fruits, and vegetables.
Baby armadillos are called pups. Armadillos are mammals and need their mother’s milk to survive. They are fully weaned by the time they reach 2 months old and will start to catch their own insects when they are a few weeks old.
Orphaned armadillos are very hard to raise. They need to be fed using an eyedropper and the pups are fed on mealworms, bait worms, grubs, ants, and vegetation when they are ready to start consuming solid foods.
These animals usually forage for food at night. They wait until after dusk before leaving their burrows and will then start searching for food. They do not have great eyesight but their keen sense of smell allows them to easily locate their prey. They are also terrific at digging up their food. Armadillos can spend all night foraging for food and they usually feed every night.
These animals do not hibernate but they will stay underground throughout the day. They prefer to sleep during day time because they cannot tolerate temperatures over 85 degrees F. They may however be more active during the daytime in the winter months.
These animals usually do not bite and they usually are not aggressive. In most cases, they will rather flee than bite. They can however lash out can bite if they feel threatened or if you try to catch one with your bare hands.
Yes, armadillos can carry diseases. Diseases like rabies or leprosy through biting or when they are bitten. It is also believed that the Covid-19 virus originated from China after humans ate armadillos.
Armadillos usually are not aggressive but can bite if they feel threatened. They do have sharp teeth which allow them to chew carrion meat. It is however not the teeth of the biting that makes armadillos dangerous but rather the potential diseases they may carry.