The armadillo is best known as a symbol of Texas, but this gentle hard bodied animal can be found wandering the open roads of the Yucatan. Known as “little-armored one,” the armadillo performs a few unexpected tricks.
The armadillo is a relative of the anteater and the sloth. They have no relation to the turtle as some believe. The armadillo is a slow moving, shy, solitary animal covered in a nine-banded flexible shell. The shell is a leathery ossified armor, made of cartilage and bone. There are nine bands that cover the upper body. Mexico’s armadillo are mainly dark grey or brown. It is, for the most part, a nocturnal animal, but can be seen wandering during the day.
Unfortunately, the armadillo population continues to decline as they are hunted by almost all predators including man. They are killed for their meat, as well for crafts that the Maya create out of the armor. The loss of habitat has also put them at risk. Each year thousands of armadillos are killed by cars while they are out on the road looking for food. They only have a few defenses against predators: a protective shell and the ability to dig and bury themselves very quickly as a way to escape danger.
They are capable of holding their breath for up to 6 minutes under the earth. Young armadillos are at greater risk as their carapaces have not calcified to the hard shell yet, and must be more cautious.
They have sharp nails and are sometimes able to take a swipe at the predator. They only have a couple of molar-like teeth in the back of their mouths.
Armadillos feed on ants, grubs, and termites and also some invertebrates and are found in all types grasslands and rainforest. Living in a humid, wet area is not conducive to their health, nor is the desert. This makes the Yucatan Peninsula a perfect environment for them.
The female gives birth to four identical babies; the quadruplets will be genetically identical siblings of the same sex.
The female can delay implantation of a fertilized egg until there is a better time if she is under stress. She will decide when it is the best time to produce her offspring. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]