The young are born with their eyes open and are able to get around within a few hours. The armadillo has been especially valuable for leprosy research since it is the only known mammal, other than humans, that can be infected with this disfiguring disease. When the swim is over, it may take as long as three hours to get rid of the swallowed air. They have the tendency of rolling into an impenetrable ball when threatened, and are not very resilient to cold weather—a single freeze can kill off entire populations —which is why they thrive in Texas. In the interest of health, a law was passed in Texas prohibiting the sale of live armadillos. Those people who eat armadillo meat will find that thorough cooking should make the meat noninfectious. The back part protects the pelvic region, and the middle – which consists of nine, flexible, somewhat-telescoping bands – connects the other two parts. The vegetation is stuffed loosely into a dome-shaped chamber and the armadillo merely pushes its way in and out each time the nest is used. Each time, whether entering from the shallow or deeper side, it walked instead of swimming. During its continuous and dedicated search for food, the armadillo seems unaware of its surroundings. The purpose of the law is commendable, but thanks to the current armadillo-mania, prohibiting the sale of live armadillos has not lessened human contact with the armor-plated critters. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Your Privacy Controls. | See temporary closures and business changes, Texas Farm and Ranch Land Conservation Program. A large, unsightly hole results. Press, College Station. For this reason, it is unwise to reach into any burrow trying to find an armadillo at home. The Louise They still are being caught for armadillo races; their shells are being converted into hard hats and other weird curios; whole animals are being stuffed in such undignified positions as lying on their backs, supposedly guzzling beer from a bottle; and the meat is being baked, barbecued, or turned into chili. Armadillos have the distinction of giving birth to exactly four … It laps up any insects it finds in the soil before it moves on in search of other places to dig. Sign Up for Email Updates. The nine-banded armadillo belongs to a primitive order of mammals called Endentata, which means "toothless." Armadillos are nocturnal and vary in size from about half a foot to five feet long. One observer, who pitched small rocks one at a time at a feeding armadillo, reported that the animal leaped into the air after each rock landed, then stood up and sniffed the air for danger. This means the creature, when caught, has little defense against dogs, coyotes, mountain lions, and other such predators. According to William B. Davis in his book The Mammals of Texas, breeding takes place from September to December, with the older females breeding first and the younger ones later. Children under 13 years of age must have a parent/guardian's consent before providing any personal information to the agency. Even though the moisture content of its food is high, it still requires drinking water, which it laps like a dog. Armadillos cannot be considered stealthy animals by any stretch of the imagination. Armadillos have been seen crossing narrow streams and roadside ditches by walking on the bottom instead of swimming, but how often this happens is debatable. Armadillo-mania is contagious in the Lone Star State, as Texans, for no apparent reason, have adopted this armor-plated critter as their mascot. With the exception of their soft, leathery shells, the young are miniature copies of the adults. Although the armadillo did not do so in the beginning, on later crossings it held its muzzle above the surface when walking through the shallow water. One-fourth inch in diameter and three-eighths inch long, these glands are present in both sexes and unnoticeable unless protruded and functioning. Content of this site copyright Texas Parks and Wildlife Department unless otherwise noted. As if that weren't noisy enough, the armadillo also may make low grunting sounds as it digs for food. The four young, always of the same sex, come from a single fertilized egg. Further classification of the nine-banded armadillo places it in the sub-order Xenarthra, which apparently developed in South America. The embryo starts as a single individual; however, through a process of bisection, followed by a second sub-division, four clonelike embryos are formed. Whatever your opinion of the armadillo, whether you are one of its lovers or haters, you must agree that it is truly unique – a determined immigrant that has made itself a Texan. While feeding, the armadillo digs cone-shaped pits about three or four inches deep, laps up any exposed insects before moving on, then revisits the pits regularly to claim any insects they may have trapped. Anteaters, sloths, and armadillos make up the three families within this sub-order and, with the exception of the nine-banded armadillo, all other members are restricted to Central and South America. A feeding armadillo sensing danger may stand up on its hind legs and appear to look around, but its eyesight is quite poor and it is actually sniffing the air for enemies. The others provide emergency access. Older males fairly reek, and few people who butcher one can stand to eat the meat. 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