Common Name: Armadillos
Range: All Armadillos species are inhabitant to America; they can survive in different environments. They are available in Central America and in the South, especially in Paraguay to Argentina and the adjacent areas. They are also found in Florida and South Carolina. Armadillos are available in all parts of Costa Rica. They are also available in different regions and national parks like Santa Rosa National Park, La Selva, Corcovado National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve; and could be found in San Vito and San Jose.
Size: Armadillo have an average length 30 inches (75 cm) including tail. However, it can range from 5 to 59 in (13 to 150 cm).
Weight: It is weighing from 3 oz to 120 lbs (85 g to 54 kg).
Diet: They are omnivore; their diet varies according to the species. However, mostly it includes insects, larvae, beetles and other invertebrates. They can consume berries, fruits; snails and earthworms also. Several species only feed termites and ants. Armadillos have sticky and very long, tongue to gulp up bugs in a sudden. They also have strong claws to get ant nests open.
Average life span: An Average life span of an Armadillos is from 12 to 15 years in captivity.
Habitat: Armadillos live in different temperate and warm habitats, including rain forests, cloud forest, grasslands, and semi-deserts.
Breeding/Reproduction: Most of the armadillo species have a gestation period from 60 to 90 days. They always give birth to four identical young. All the fours are developed from the same egg and they are identical quadruplets. They get sexual maturity in 3 to 12 months, depending on the species. They are lonely animals they do not like to share their holes with other adults.
The nine-banded armadillo is the most widespread of the twenty armadillo species. They are typically between 20-42 inches in length and weigh between 4-8 kilos. The nine-banded armadillo, as the name suggests, has nine bands across its back. They have four toes on their front feet, and five toes on the hind feet. They have the typical armor of the armadillo family, which covers their sides, head, tail, back, and the outsides of the legs. They, unlike most other armadillos, cannot defensively roll themselves into a ball. Instead they have the ability to jump up to 4 feet in the air when frightened.
The texture of the soil plays an important role in armadillo habitat. The more easily the soil is dug, the more attractive the land is to armadillos. They also like a habitat rich in water where climatic conditions are dry to mildly humid. The nine-banded armadillos are extremely active diggers, so much that a single member dig so many borrows, these abandoned old borrows provide homes to other species in the vicinity. Borrow of the nine-banded armadillo is usually 2-5 meters in length.
The nine-banded armadillo can swim across water, but tires easily, and hence prefers to simply walk across the bottom. These versatile little guys can also inflate their intestines at will, so as to increase their buoyancy when swimming long distances. Their diet primarily consists of vegetables, fungi and various berries. They also eat maggots and other small insects, and will frequently visit larger carcasses to find these. The egg stealing habit of the armadillo makes it a pest in some areas. In some parts of America, armadillo meat is commonly consumed. Their meat is cheap and when correctly cooked, tastes exactly like pork, hence it is considered to be the poor man’s pork. They can be seen in different national parks of Costa Rica such as Arenal Volcano National Park, Barra Honda National Park, Aviarios del Caribe, Curu National Park, Carara National Park, and wildlife reserve.
Armadillos have poor eyesight but they are not blind. They depend on their ears and noses to identify food or predators.
Armadillos have been used research for leprosy because they have lowest body temperatures that is sufficient for them to catch the most dangerous form of the ailment. They also have weak immune systems that make them an ideal model for several type of medical research.
Some female are used for research as they have the abilities to delay the implantation of fertilized eggs at the time of stress. Due to This reproductive method armadillos are good to colonize new areas.
Armadillos metabolic rate are very low, so they have the lowest body heat and they can not live in the cold climate as they can not keep themselves warm. Armadillos do not have body fat and they want food on regular basis.