The internet has been abuzz with armadillos recently, after the YouTube hit starring Rollie, a three-banded armadillo from Green Bay, in the US state of Wis
The internet has been abuzz with armadillos recently, after the YouTube hit starring Rollie, a three-banded armadillo from Green Bay, in the US state of Wisconsin. So to put some facts behind what is possibly one of the cutest videos ever, here’s some things we bet you didn’t know about armadillos.
But first let’s answer some basic questions about our adorable rolling friends.
How big are armadillos?
Armadillos can vary in size, from 5-58 inches, weighing between 3 and 120 pounds.
What do armadillos eat?
The typical diet for an armadillo consists mainly of insects. They dig in the ground and use their sticky tongue to catch these tasty treats. Armadillos also eat small mammals, baby birds, eggs and fruit.
How long do armadillos live for?
This varies greatly in the wild compared to captivity, from just 4-7 years in the wild and up to 15 years in captivity.
What do armadillos look like?
Armadillos are covered in bony plates, which develop within the first few weeks after birth. Their colour can vary, including pinks, browns, black, red, grey or yellow colours.
Where do armadillos live?
Armadillos originate from South America, but have made their way into Central and North America. They’ve extended their range as far as South Carolina, Florida and even Nebraska. Although some species are endangered, many have kept expanding across America due to a lack of natural predators.
Top five fun facts
1) It’s only three-banded armadillos (tolypeutes tricinctus) like Rollie who can curl into a ball. There are over 20 other species of armadillo, but they have too many bony plates to roll. While less cute, these other armadillos can still protect themselves from predators by running or digging a hole.
2) While experts at digging armadillos are also excellent at climbing. If they can’t dig underneath something, they will climb over it instead. Not sure about you, but I’d love to see an armadillo climbing over the garden fence one day!
3) Another skill of our bony-bodied armadillos is swimming. They can dive under water and hold their breath for up to six minutes. This compares to the average one minute for humans, although the Guinness World Record stands at an outstanding 22 minutes!
4) Armadillos are one of the few animals who postpone their pregnancies. Known as “delayed implantation” typically armadillos mate in July, but the female won’t become pregnant until November. This allows for them to save their pregnancy until the optimum environmental conditions are available. In many cases, armadillos have been taken into captivity, or moved to a new area, and then seem to miraculously give birth.
5) Baby armadillos are born in identical sets formed from one egg. For most species of armadillo this is four pups in each litter, but the seven-banded armadillo can produce up to 15 identical offspring. This is the only mammal known to be born like this. Who wouldn’t want a family of baby armadillos rolling around!
Do you have any more fun facts about armadillos? Let us know in the comments below!
Image: Chris van Dyck / Flickr