There are twenty species of armadillos currently not extinct - and all of them live in the Americas. It's a shame they don't come over here to Ireland. I would have loved to have one as a pet! The largest species of armadillos, the Giant Armadillos can grow up to 1.5 metres in length and can weight up to 60kg.
The armadillo is considered a living fossil of sorts, mainly because it's the only living member of the Cingulata order - armoured animals.
The name armadillo is a Spanish one, given to the animal by Spanish Conquitadors. It literally means "Little armoured one".
Armadillos live in warm climates, including rain forests and grasslands, and mostly near bodies of water.
The life span of an armadillo varies from 4-12 years. Female armadillos give birth to a litter of about 4 armadillos, who stay in the burrow for around six months.
Armadillos are able to stay underwater for six minutes. They naturally sink in the water due to their heavy shells, but they can float on the water easily enough if they fill their lungs with air.
Now that I have the basic facts down, I will tell you a little of some of the different species of armadillos there are. My personal favourite is also the Pink Fairy armadillo, because they are too amazing to not be my favourite. Which one is yours?
This giant armadillo is extremely sleepy! They can sleep for up to 18 hours a day, and don't like to leave their burrows very much.
In contrast to their look, with the long, sharp claws and heavy armour, these creatures are very easily scared! It doesn't take very much for them to be frightened, and they will run back to their homes ones any danger is sensed.
Every one of the three hairy armadillo species - The Big Hairy armadillo, The Screaming Armadillo and the Andean armadillo - live in South America. They are very well named for the hairy bellies and the hairs sticking out from under the armoured scales they have.
Pink Fairy Armadillo
The Pink Fairy Armadillos are the smallest of all armadillos being only about 12-15 cm. The are also the only ones to have such coloured armour!
They have pleasant pink rose coloured looking armour - sometimes more yellow or even light brown in colour - and white fur underneath, on their bellies. Their diet consist of ants and ant larvae, worms, and other vegetation.
They are only found in grasslands in Argentina, and in sandy plains. Their claws help them to navigate around their environment and also to get the food they need. The claws are also a very important advantage to their self defence systems; they are able to bury themselves in a matter of seconds if they are in danger.
The main predator of the Pink Fairy armadillo are domestic dogs. They also live beside large ant colonies, as that is their preferred source of nutrition. They mainly come out to feed at night.
See you very soon,
Elvish Kitty. :)