The Armadillo is a mammal that is usually found in the regions of South Africa and the central parts of North America. This animal is similar to the badgers and the sloths as it is also a part of the Xenarthra superorder of mammals (but is from the Dasypodidae family).
Eight separate breeds of the Armadillo
There are eight separate breeds of the armadillo and each of them is named after the unique characteristic that specifies and distinguishes it from the others. There are the northern naked-tailed, the dwarf, the large hairy, the three-banded, the six-banded, the pink fairy, the nine-banded, the giant. One thing, however, is what unites them and this is the leathery armour that covers their backs and protects them from both bad weather and probable physical attacks by predators. This very formation on their backs is what has originally given them the very name “armadillo”, which in Spanish means ‘a small armoured one’. While the pink fairy type is in fact very small (reaching to not more than 16cm in height) while the largest is the giant armadillo, of course, that is sometimes as tall as 150cm! Every different species, though, has its own unique way to handle dangers, though. The 3-banded one, for example, can roll into a ball that is hidden inside an almost absolutely impenetrable armour. The 9-banded one, on the other hand, can jump as high as 122cm.
Armadillo is excellent swimmer
This animal lives usually between 12 and 15 years and loves to spend them in warmer climates and never in a place where there is winter as their very organisms cannot take the cold. One thing they do handle well is, however, swimming. All armadillo varieties are impeccable swimmers and can hold their breath underwater for as much as 6 minutes. They are also unique for the fact that they can float, although their large scaled armour should be sinking them. This is because the mammal can fill its entre belly and both lungs with air, which keeps it above water level. This and the fact that they need a soil that is easy to dig and find food in, is why they are usually inhabiting zones that are humid and have a water basin nearby.
Good for digging their burrows but also useful when it comes to finding food and preparing it – the armadillo’s claws are very strong and thick. This feature is what helps them fight off predators as well. Unlike other animals, these don’t have strong teeth and have learnt how to fend off danger with their limbs instead. They are also a great help when the armadillo has to separate the flesh off the bones of a dead animal. Yes, they feed on corpses, but as this may be of help to some farmers, the fact that human corpses are included in the menu is rather discouraging. Maybe the rare sights of an armadillo eating a dead human have influenced our race to accept them as an enemy and hunting them.
Hunters as we are, we kill these mammals for their skins, out of which we make wallets and shoes, coats and jackets, for their meat – a gourmet product in South Africa and for many other reasons including using them as a home accessory when stuffed. This is why the species is in fact endangered and the only subspecies that lives and is even expanding is the high-jumping nine-banded armadillo. Another reason for the hunting of these animals is that they are considered a great help in experimenting and doing medical research against the plague of the current years – cancer and HIV.