Where do armadillos sleep

Spherical armadillo

Characteristics

What does a spherical armadillo look like?

The head, body and tail are covered by a leather-like armor. This consists of many hexagonal horn and bone plates that are formed by the skin.

Because these plates are arranged in rows, they are reminiscent of belts - hence the name armadillo.

In young armadillos, the armor is still leathery, with increasing age the individual plates transform into hard bone plates.

Globular armadillos are dark to gray-brown in color. They have a narrow head with a pointed snout, a six to eight centimeter long tail and are relatively long-legged.

An adult spherical armadillo weighs about one to 1.6 kilograms and is between 35 and 45 centimeters long.

The differently designed front and rear feet are also typical:

The front feet have four toes with sharp claws, the middle three toes of the rear feet, on the other hand, have grown together like a hoof. Ball armadillos have hair-like hard bristles on the belly side.

Where do ball armadillos live?

Ball armadillos are at home in central South America. There they occur in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and in the north of Argentina.

Globular armadillos live in open grasslands, savannahs and dry forest areas.

What species is the spherical armadillo related to?

The closest relative of the spherical armadillo, also known as the southern spherical armadillo, is the three-banded armadillo, also known as the northern spherical armadillo.

There are also other genera of armadillos, such as the bare-tailed armadillos, the giant armadillos, the soft armadillos and the belted mole.

How old do spherical armadillos get?

Ball armadillos kept in captivity can live up to 20 years. They probably don't live that long in their natural habitat.

behavior

How do ball armadillos live?

Ball armadillos belong to one of the oldest groups of mammals: They are counted among the so-called secondary articulated animals, which also include sloths and anteaters.

The term "secondary joint animals" comes from the fact that these animals have additional joint humps on the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae.

These ensure that the spine is particularly firm and stable and therefore armadillos have a lot of strength to dig for food in the ground.

The ancestors and relatives of this group of animals lived on Earth in the Tertiary, 65 million years ago. However, even then they were only found on the American continent.

And because South America was separated from Central and North America and from the other continents during the tertiary period, this group of animals only developed here. It was only when a land bridge to Central America was built at the end of the Tertiary that they could spread further north.

Ball armadillos are mostly nocturnal. They look for a home in the abandoned burrows of other animals; they rarely dig a burrow themselves.

Sometimes they also sleep in the undergrowth of thick bushes. Most of the time they live solitary, but sometimes several animals retreat into a burrow to sleep.

Globular armadillos have teeth that grow back a lifetime if they are worn out from chewing food.

The blood circulation and the regulation of body temperature are also unusual: the arteries leading to the heart form a dense network of small veins so that the heart muscles are particularly well supplied with oxygen.

However, the armadillos cannot regulate their body temperature as well as the other mammals: At up to 16 or 18 ° C outside temperature, their body temperature remains relatively stable. But if the outside temperature drops to 11 ° C, for example, the body temperature of the armadillos also drops. That is why they only occur in warm subtropical and tropical areas.

Friends and enemies of spherical armadillos

Globular armadillos have few natural enemies because they have a perfect defense strategy:

In case of danger and if they are attacked, they curl up into a ball. The legs are hidden inside the sphere. The armor plates of the head and tail form the closure of the ball.

So no enemy predator like fox or maned wolf can get close to the spherical armadillo - the hard shell protects it.

The most dangerous enemy for the spherical armadillo is humans: Because their meat is very tasty, the animals are happy to be hunted. In addition, their living space is becoming increasingly scarce.

How do ball armadillos reproduce?

Ball armadillo females give birth to only one young at a time. It is born between November and January after a gestation period of 120 days.

They are suckled by their mother for two to three months, then they are weaned and quickly grow up.

They become sexually mature at the age of nine to twelve months.

How do spherical armadillos communicate?

Ball armadillos hardly make any sounds. But when they curl up, they breathe out and let out a hissing sound.

maintenance

What do globular armadillos eat?

Globular armadillos feed primarily on insects and insect larvae. They like ants and termites best.

With their strong claws, they can even break open termites' burrows or tear bark from trees to look for prey.

They then take these out of hiding places with their long, sticky tongues. From time to time they also nibble on fruits and other parts of the plant.