Nine-banded Armadillo

 

Photo by Bob Gress

Common Name: Nine-banded Armadillo

Scientific Name: Dasypus novemcinctus

Total Length: 28-31 inches

Tail Length: 10-15 inches

Weight: 7-10 pounds

 

Comments: Nine-banded armadillos are oval-shaped, night foragers that "wear" protective armor. Their immoveable front and rear upper "shields" are connected by nine bands of moveable bony plates. Their head, with the exception of their rabbit-like ears, outer legs and tail are also armored. Yellowish hair grows sparsely on their belly. Strong claws are used for foraging and digging burrows. Their sensitive nose can detect enemies and aid in foraging and burrowing. They have 28-36 undifferentiated peg-like teeth. In March or April, females bear four identical pups of the same sex. Their average lifespan is 4 years. This, however, can be shortened by their instinct to jump straight up when startled, making them a frequent victim of vehicles.

Distribution: Nine-banded armadillos range from South America to south-central and southeastern United States. They are typically found in shrublands and woodlands in the southern half of Kansas.

Food: Nine-banded armadillos feed primarily on earthworms, insect larvae, and insects. They also eat small vertebrates, bird eggs, fruits, and berries.