Nine-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)

Nine-banded armadillo | Photo credit: Jim Mullhaupt

The nine-banded armadillo is a curious-looking creature, its twelve-pound body almost entirely covered with jointed, armor-like plates. Armadillos range in color from brownish-black to gray. Native to Central and South America, the nine-banded armadillo first appeared in Texas in the late 19th century. Today, the armadillo’s range includes Texas and the southeastern United States.

Armadillos are often visible while foraging during the summer months, or as the unfortunate victims of “roadkill” along highways and busy streets. Despite their small size, armadillos are quite noisy when rooting through forest duff in search of insects, worms, and berries. They use their sharp claws for digging and finding food. Gifted with a keen sense of smell, armadillos have extremely poor eyesight. Upon sensing danger, armadillos scurry off to safety at a frantic pace.

Adding to its peculiar appearance, the armadillo also has the unique ability to make itself buoyant when the necessity to cross deep or expansive water arises. In shallow waterways, dillos simply walk — underwater — on the bottom to the opposite side!

Fun Fact:
Armadillo females always have four “pups” and all four pups are always the same sex.

Two of the many armadillo viewing locations in Texas are Lost Maples State Natural Area in Vanderpool, and Palmetto State Park in Gonzales. The key to observing armadillos is to listen, as you will likely hear them before you see them.

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