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The bony armor-like plates covering a nine-banded armadillo are one of its most unique adaptations. The smooth shell offers protection and helps it slip into the cover of the underbrush. Unlike some armadillo species, the nine-banded cannot curl itself into a ball. With its keen sense of smell, an armadillo can locate almost 500 different foods, most of which are insects and other invertebrates. This mammal forages by digging with its long claws, pushing its nose into the soil, and grabbing food with a long, sticky tongue. Multiple burrows provide shelter from predators and the cold, and a safe nesting area. In the spring, a female gives birth to four identical young. Although well-developed at birth, their skin is soft and leathery and hardens as they get older. Of the 20 armadillo species, nine-banded armadillos have the largest range and can be found in the southeastern U.S. and west to New Mexico, throughout Mexico and Central America, and as far south as Argentina. They are adaptable to different habitats if sufficient food and water sources are available. Nine-banded armadillos are the only armadillo species native to the U.S.
Our Animal's Story
Our two armadillos arrived at ZooAmerica in June of 2016 from the University of the Ozarks in Arkansas. Both the male, Oakley, and the female, Annie, were born in April of 2016.