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The nine-banded armadillo cannot easily be confused with any other North American wild mammal. The armadillo’s body is covered with an armored carapace or shell. The carapace is a double layer of horn and bone, segmented into three main divisions: an anterior scapular shield covering the shoulder; a posterior pelvic shield covering the hip region; and a middle section comprised of a series of bands connected by soft, infolded skin between the bands. The head and legs are covered with thick scales, and the tail is encased in a series of bony rings. Coloration of nine-banded armadillos is generally grayish brown, with yellowish-white scales along the side of the carapace. The armadillo has a long, pointed snout, small eyes, and large, cylindrical ears. The armadillo’s pointed snout, short, stout legs, and heavy claws are well suited for digging and burrowing. Armadillos have a limited number of vocalizations: a low, wheezy grunt associated with digging and rooting; a wheezy grunt uttered by recently captured individuals; an audible buzzing noise given when highly alarmed or fleeing, a pig-like squeal given by frightened individuals; and a weak purring given by young attempting to nurse from an unrelated female. Total length ranges from 24 to 31 inches and weights vary from 8 to 15 pounds. There are six subspecies of Dasypus novemcinctus in Central and South America, but only one subspecies, D. n. mexicanus occurs in North America.
Armadillos seem to exhibit a polygynous mating system, with most females paired with a single male and most males paired with more than one female. Den burrows have an enlarged nest chamber and are more complicated than a burrow dug for other purposes. The nest is a bulky mass of dried plant debris crammed into the nest chamber without any obvious structure. Armadillos in areas with poorly drained soils will construct above ground nests of dry plant material. Most breeding among armadillos occurs during the summer (June-August). The normal gestation period is 8 to 9 months, with most young born between February and May. The armadillo exhibits monozygotic polyembryony in which a single fertilized egg normally gives rise to four separate embryos at the blastula stage of development. This results in a litter of four genetically identical haploid clone offspring. Dasypus is the only genus of vertebrates in which this reproductive phenomenon occurs. The offspring are precocial and begin accompanying the female outside of the burrow at about 2 to 3 months of age. By 3 to 4 months, the young are self-sufficient. Most males reach sexual maturity between 6 to 12 months of age, but females do not become sexually mature until they are 1 to 2 years old.
Armdillos do very well in urban areas because of lush irrigated lawns and gardens. It would be considered a very beneficial critter because of its diet which consists mostly of insects and grubs if it weren't for its digging.
Armadillos are one of natures most proficient diggers. They can ruin your lawn and garden with what I like to call 'Dillo Divots'. They also dig their burrows at the base of your home which can crack foundations or crack pipes.
Another defense mechanism is Armadillo can jump 3-4 feet in the air to escape from his arch enemy; snake. But do mind jumping Armadillos while you drive your vehicle as they can cause extensive damage to the grill and radiator of the car forcing you to spend the night on the road-side.