Armadillos are interesting creatures. We normally associate these animals with their natural armor and their tendency to get run over by oncoming cars. In Spanish, the term “armadillo” means “little armored one.” The armor that armadillos have which nature has given them is quite effective against the predators that they face in the wild, but it cannot withstand the force of vehicles.
Interestingly, it is only the three-banded armadillo that has the capability to roll into a ball to protect itself. Other species dig holes for protection, exposing their armor and protecting more vulnerable parts of their bodies. In fact, there are twenty-one unique species of armadillo. As you could probably imagine, the giant armadillo is the largest species of armadillo. When it comes to the armor of the armadillo, the bands present on the armor distinguishes the species of armadillo.
Armadillos have poor eyesight and rely on their sense of smell to catch prey. An armadillo will usually eat both meat and plants. However, the vast majority of an armadillo’s diet consists of insects. The tongue of the armadillo is useful for capturing insects. Due to biological reasons, armadillos prefer to live in warmer areas.
To be more specific, most armadillo species inhabit Central and South America. There are armadillos that can be found in the Southern portion of the United States too. Armadillos are not considered an endangered species as a whole, however some species of armadillo are considered vulnerable due to the rapid population decline of these particular species.
Keeping an armadillo as a pet is not a smart choice. The type of armadillo does not matter much in regards to this issue. Armadillos require a large amount of roaming space and insects to consume. Feral armadillos can do major damage as well. The biggest obstacle in terms of caring for an armadillo is purchasing one. A tamed armadillo can cost thousands of dollars and veterinary care for these creatures will be certainly be difficult to find.
The most common pet armadillo is the three-banded armadillo. This same armadillo is the only breed that can roll into a ball to protect itself. The pet trade has played a large part in the decline of the population of this species. These armadillos do not have a large quantity of teeth so the animal’s diet must be restricted to softer foods. Southern three-banded armadillos can survive for about twenty years in captivity. The breeds usually kept as pets all weigh under ten pounds on average.
Owning an armadillo is not for everybody. It can be quite expensive to house and care for the creature on top of the excessive amount of money needed to purchase an armadillo in the first place. It should also be mentioned that keeping armadillos as pets is not even considered legal in several areas. Therefore, it is smart to take a look at the laws in your area before making a purchase. However, these animals are unique and being able to own one can make for an interesting experience.
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