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Armadillos (Dasypodidae)

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Long before man invented battle armor, Nature created them. Rather, she created them many times, of a very different style and from different "materials". And although vertebrates from the very beginning of their history made a bet on the internal skeleton, they also gave rise to many armored forms: armored fish, turtles, many dinosaurs. But among mammals, armored creatures are extremely rare. Imagine now the surprise of the Spanish conquistadors, who, among other wonders and wonders, saw animals in shiny armor in South America. Without further ado, they called them armadillos - “armor”. This word was included in many languages ​​of the world without translation, while Russian zoologists picked up an equivalent for it: armadillos.

Armadillos, Armadillos (Dasypodidae)
A type
- chordates
Class - mammals
Detachment - not toothless
Family - armadillos (Dasypodidae)
About 20 species combined in 9 genera and 5 subfamilies. The length of the body with the tail of the smallest species (lacquered armadillo) is 15-18 centimeters with a weight of about 90 grams, the largest (giant armadillo) - up to 150 centimeters with a weight of more than 50 kilograms.

They live mainly in South America, three species enter North. Inhabit open landscapes. They feed on insects (especially public ones), terrestrial invertebrates, carrion. Extremely active in digging land, both in search of food, and for the construction of holes. Some species, along with permanent ones, dig numerous temporary burrows; the two smallest species have completely switched to the underground way of life.

They prefer to settle near water bodies, although they are able to live in deserts (with the exception of stone ones). They swim and dive perfectly, they can cross water bodies along the bottom. Due to reduced metabolism and a large volume of the respiratory tract, they can hold their breath for up to 6 minutes. The main enemies are cougars, coyotes, wolves, dogs. In many countries, they serve as an object of hunting for meat (considered a delicacy) and the shell used for crafts (musical instruments, decorative baskets, etc.). They are persecuted by pastoralists, as the burrows of armadillos often become the cause of injuries and fractures of legs in livestock. Often die on the road. Most species are included in the international Red Book as endangered.

For some time they were popular as laboratory animals, since armadillos are the only animals outside the primates that can become infected with leprosy.

Today, science knows about 20 types of armadillos, united in one family. Their appearance is quite diverse, but the main thing that catches your eye is the carapace of horny shields. In fact, this is only the outer part of the lat. Stronger bone armor lies under the plates of the horny substance. The carapace of armadillos is not continuous: it covers the body only from above and is divided into clearly distinguishable details. In the main part of the shell, two large shields are distinguished: the humerus and pelvic. Between them are the typesetting parts of the lat, consisting of several rows of small plates called “belts”. By their number, many types of armadillos are determined: “three-belt”, “seven-belt”, “nine-belt”. (However, these names are not entirely accurate: seven-belted armadillos may have six belts, and nine-belted ones from 8 to 11.) A rather powerful tail is “packed” in the same plates. The head is covered by a separate shield that does not connect with the shoulder. However, this is, rather, a general scheme that each species customized to its needs and tastes. For example, in lamellar armadillos, the entire back is covered with rows of separate plates, and whole shields are only on the head and back of the body (and the shield is located almost vertically, giving the impression that the end of the body of the animal seems to be chopped off), and between it and the back a strip of thick wool sticks out fervently with armor. For this decoration, the animals were nicknamed the "Lace Juan."

In addition to the shell, the battleships also have a number of unexpected features. True, only zoologists can appreciate them. It is known, for example, that one of the most important evolutionary “inventions” of mammals (more precisely, their reptilian ancestors) is the specialization of teeth, their separation into incisors, canines and molars. The entire taxonomy of the class is based on the features of the structure and development of the teeth, as a rule, more or less similar within each squad. In the family of armadillos, the number of teeth varies in fantastic limits - from 8 to 100, it can vary significantly even in individuals of the same species. But no matter how many there are, they all have the same cylindrical shape, are devoid of roots and enamel and grow all their lives.

The latter is usually characteristic of animals that feed on coarse and solid plant foods. And again, the battleships are an exception to the rule. For most of them, the main feed is social insects - ants and termites. This trade also left its mark on the structure of animals, hence the powerful paws with long strong claws, a muzzle extended into a tube and a long sticky tongue to collect prey. However, only some types of armadillos adhere to a strict ant-termite diet. Most are always ready to diversify it with other insects and soil invertebrates (an armadillo can smell a large larva through a 20-cm layer of soil), carrion and any easily digestible food. They dig a significant part of their prey from the earth, and the aforementioned lamellar armadillos even switched to an underground way of life like moles. But only a few species sometimes include parts of plants (mainly succulent rhizomes and tubers) in their diet. There are no real predators among them at all: in such vestments it is impossible to catch even languidly fluttering game.

But the battleship itself can become the prey of not every predator: it is protected not only by the strength of the armor, but also by their round shape, inconvenient for cracking. True, to fold into a ball, as described in Kipling's famous fairy tale, only two species are able to (which they call “spherical” for this). Most of the battleships, when attacked by the enemy, are pressed down, protecting the vulnerable lower side of the body, and try to quickly dig into the ground. Their ability to plunge even into hard ground is amazing: a case is described when an armadillo caught on an asphalt highway managed to sweep asphalt under him in a minute and go into a layer of gravel.

If you can’t quickly dig in, and the predator does not lag behind, the armadillo has one more surprise in store: sharply straightening all four legs, he suddenly takes off vertically. Stunned, or even painfully bruised, the enemy usually prefers not to mess with such a beast. True, in the modern world this trick often plays a cruel joke with armadillos. It is known that well-protected small animals - hedgehogs, turtles, skunks, etc. - die more often than others on the roads, because they do not run away, but take up defense. But if the curled hedgehog can still survive, being between the wheels, then the armadillo jumping under the machine does not have a single chance.

If the attack caught the animal near the hole, then he, without hoping for either a shell or claws, rushes to her headlong. There, the beast is practically invulnerable: even if the enemy managed to grab it by the tail, the battleship deftly wedges, resting against the walls with its paws and the edges of the shell. Removing it out without a shovel is unrealistic.

Nora generally occupies a special place in the life of plate animals: inhabiting mostly open landscapes (pampas, wastelands, pastures, shrubbery), they are active mainly at night. In the afternoon they prefer to sit underground - especially in hot or, conversely, too cold weather. Among other things, armadillas are not quite warm-blooded: their body temperature can vary by several degrees depending on the ambient temperature. And, of course, it is the hole - the place of birth of each battleship.

The biology of their reproduction is also unusual. Apart from humans and their closest relatives, armadillos are the only mammals mating in a “missionary position”, facing each other. The reasons for this are more or less clear: hard shells simply do not leave them any other opportunity. It is much less clear why the identical twins are always born in the nine-belted armadillo - usually four, but it happens from 2 to 12. That in other mammals exists as a rare and unusual option, in armadillos is the norm: after the first division of the fertilized egg, the resulting daughter cells are disconnected , then each of them is divided again, and only then does the development of the embryos begin.

FOR ALL AND ABOUT EVERYONE

Armadillo (Latin Dasypodidae) - a family of mammals of the order of armadillos. They live in Central and South America.


Now there are 20 types of armadillos, united in 8 genera

The build of the battleships is squat, heavy. Body length from 12.5 (lacquered armadillos) to 100 cm (giant armadillo), weight from 90 g to 60 kg. The tail length is from 2.5 to 50 cm.

The battleships got their name in honor of the conquistadors - Spanish soldiers forged in steel armor.

In the Pleistocene era, glyptodons, giant relatives of modern battleships, lived in South and Central America. With its dimensions and dimensions, the glyptodon resembled the Volkswagen Beetle

The body length of the ancestors of the battleships reached 3 meters. From their carapace, the natives of South America made roofs for the huts. It turned out a kind of durable tile. Today, giant armadillos weigh about 32 kg and reach one and a half meters in length, and the smallest armadillo lamellar - often does not exceed 15 cm in length.

Armadillos are objects of hunting. Their white meat, tasting like pork, has been considered a delicacy among the peoples of Latin America since ancient times. Armadillo shells go for souvenirs and musical instruments like charango. These animals, despite the fact that digging up the earth in search of food, spoil the crops, bring much benefit, destroying harmful insects and their larvae.

The most common type of armadillo is the nine-belted armadillo. In one sitting, they are able to eat about 40 thousand ants

Often, battleships are hit by vehicles at night. At the same time, the nine-belted battleship is ruined by the bounce reflex - in case of fright, this beast jumps almost vertically and hits the chassis of a moving car.

Nine-belted battleships are of great interest to science in that they usually have 4 identical twins. Due to its complete identity, a group of four armadillos is an excellent object for medical, genetic, psychological and other studies that require a uniform test population.

On earth, among mammals unrelated to humans, only armadillos and mice become infected with leprosy.

Infection is most likely contributed by the low body temperature of the armadillos (32 degrees Celsius), favorable for Hansen's bacilli (Mycobacterium leprae).

In stressful situations, female armadillos can suspend delivery for two years.

The black-clad armadillo or the Argentine shield-bearer, also called “pichisiego” or the pink armadillo is a species of the armadillo family Chlamyphoridae

In stressful situations, the battleship curls up and pretends to be a stone in order to deceive its enemies

No family of mammals has such a variable number of teeth - from 28 to 40 (in a giant armadillo - up to 90-100). The number of teeth varies not only in different species, but also in different individuals.

Armadillos along with bonobo chimpanzees and humans are mammals that mate in a “missionary position”

After death, the genitals of the armadillo remain active for some time.

Armadillos can walk underwater. They have a very low oxygen demand and can hold their breath for 6 minutes, retaining air in the trachea and bronchi.

Armadillos sleep an average of 18.5 hours per day.

Sometimes armadillos are confused with pangolins, although pangolin, or lizards (Latin Pholidota), is a separate detachment of placental mammals

Lifestyle & Nutrition

The carapace is made up of the head, shoulder and pelvic shields and a number of obliquate strips encircling the body from above and from the sides. Parts of the shell are interconnected by elastic connective tissue, which gives mobility to the entire shell. Thin horn plates of square or polygonal shape formed by the epidermis lie on top of the shell. The same shields form armor on the limbs, the tail is covered with bone rings. The abdomen and the internal parts of the legs of the armadillo are soft, unprotected, covered with stiff hair. Hair also grows between the bony plates, sometimes horny scales penetrate. The color of the shell varies from brown to pink, hair - from dun to white.

The build of the battleships is squat, heavy. Body length from 12.5 (lacquered armadillos) to 100 cm (giant armadillo), weight from 90 g to 60 kg. The length of the tail is from 2.5 to 50 cm. The muzzle is short and triangular, or elongated. The eyes are quite small, with thick eyelids. The limbs are short but strong, adapted for digging. Forelegs 3-5-fingered with powerful, sharp, curved claws, hind 5-fingered. The skull is flattened in the dorso-ventral direction. No family of mammals has such a variable number of teeth - from 28 to 40 (in a giant armadillo - up to 90). The number of teeth varies not only in different species, but also in different individuals. The teeth of the battleships are small, without enamel and roots, of the same cylindrical shape. They are growing constantly. The tongue of many species is long and sticky, serves to capture food. Armadillos have a good sense of smell and hearing, but poor vision. They do not distinguish colors. Metabolism is reduced, body temperature depends on the environment and can drop from 36 ° C to 32 ° C. These animals do not tolerate negative temperatures, which limits their distribution to the poles.

Lifestyle & Nutrition |general characteristics

Armadillos - nocturnal animals living mainly alone. Only a few species are known. All of them live in Central and South America. This is one of the oldest inhabitants of planet Earth, which have survived since the time of the dinosaurs. They wandered around the planet about 55 million years ago, since then they have significantly decreased in size and live on only two American continents.

Armadillos are also called armadillos, which in Spanish means "carrying harness", "carapace". Their body length is from 80 cm to 1.5 m, tail length is 30-40 cm, weight is more than 6 kg. A head with a long elongated face, ears of a tubular shape, some consider them to be “pig” and they are placed relatively close to each other. The limbs are short. The body of the armadillos is covered with flexible armor formed by a bone shell, which consists of keratinized plates. The plates form a strong main, pelvic and shoulder shields, as well as a number of belts. On the back of such belts from 6 to 11, interconnected by elastic connective tissue, which gives the carapace mobility. The carapace, resembling the armor of knights, reliably protects its master from enemies, although from below the abdomen is soft, covered with hair and in case of danger, animals hide their paws under themselves and cling to the surface of the earth. The armadillo’s hole is at a depth of 50 cm to 3.5 m underground and consists of a labyrinth of corridors up to 7 m long. At least two of them in a certain place end with a nesting chamber, which at the end is covered with dry leaves and grass.

The habitat and lifestyle of armadillos

The distribution area of ​​these animals is Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina.Local residents have long exterminated armadillos, since their meat is considered a delicacy, but the population of these animals is quite large, so they are not on the verge of extinction. Among some locals there is a belief about the magical power of armadillos, so they kill animals to make amulets from their bones

But not only because of this, the Armadillas die. Armadillos are nocturnal. During the day, they hide in dug holes, and by night they go out from there to the surface to warm up and look for food. Often, returning back, they cannot find the former shelter and dig new passages and burrows. As a result of the field, the lands are covered by depressions made by armadillos. Grazing horses, cows fall into these pits and break their legs, which, of course, their owners do not like. This is another reason for the extermination of armadillos.

Armadillos mark their sites with odors - secretions of glands located in different parts of the body. Frightened by something, the battleships first jump vertically high up, and then run away. It is this reflex that leads to the death of animals on the roads, because, frightened by the car, the animal does not fall under the wheels as much as jumping, it crashes itself on the car or its underbody.

Despite their slowness, when pursuing stubby armadillos, they try to quickly bury themselves in the ground, and they do it perfectly. If for some reason the animal does not have time to dig a hole and hide from danger, then it is pressed to the ground, hiding the relatively soft parts of the body under the shell, making it inaccessible to the predator. Deadly danger to armadillos is cars. This is due to the reflex of bouncing animals. Being underground, hearing the noise of a car passing over it, it bounces high, almost vertically, while it hits the lower part of the moving car, which ends sadly for the beast.

The diet of armadillos is extremely diverse. They feed on insects, small vertebrates, bird eggs, mushrooms, roots and carrion. You can also take ants and termites to your favorite treats of armadillos. In excess of food, armadillos are capable of attacking snakes. They jump onto the victim and cut the body of the snake with the sharp edges of the scales.

Breeding

They mate in the summer, time depends on the place of residence. The armadillo is mainly born 4 re gay twin. Toddlers suck their mother’s milk like kittens or pigs. Their armor becomes strong after about six months, then the small armadillos begin to lead an independent lifestyle. The female feeds the children milk for several weeks. If the female does not have the opportunity to feed the offspring, she can eat her babies under stress.

Locals do not like armadillos because domestic animals (cattle and small cattle) break their legs, getting hooves in the burrows of these animals. In this regard, some types of armadillos are already under protection, for example, a giant armadillo in Brazil.

Protection

Their arsenal of defenses is very rich. At the slightest danger, the animal instantly turns into a ball. But that's not all. Using long, powerful claws, the battleship strives to bury itself in the ground, digging it straight from underneath. Hiding to a depth of 20-30 centimeters, the beast does not curl up, but, on the contrary, spreads its carapace and “anchors” it with the help of the earth.

Another defense mechanism, because of which they got the nickname in Texas - “speed bumps” - is to jump sharply and high vertically upwards, which works extremely ineffectively when an approaching car. Of course, such a technique can scare or disorient a predator, but drivers, unfortunately, do not have time to react.

Benefit and harm

Some farmers believe that by tearing the soil, animals loosen it and improve aeration, as well as destroy a significant number of pests. It was found that one animal can eat up to 100 kg of insects per year. There is information that farmers in the United States specifically breed armadillos for biological balance, as a means of pest control. In the stomachs of armadillos, besides insects, they also found tarantula spiders, scorpions, frogs and small snakes.

Protection and Status

The abundance of many species is low and decreases, they are threatened with complete extermination. Their reproduction is insignificant. True, some species give birth to up to nine cubs, but they grow so slowly and also are so defenseless that it is difficult to hope for an increase in their number. 4 species are in the IUCN Red List. One of them - the three-belted battleship (Tolypeutes tricinctus) - may have died out.

Interesting Facts

  • Even the asphalt is not a hindrance for the claws of armadillos - sensing danger, they instantly dig up the upper hard layer of the road surface and quickly burrow under it.
  • If the predator who was chasing the armadillo managed to grab the victim by the tail at the last moment, it still fails to hold it, as the armadillo wedges its limbs and firmly rests on the walls of the hole, which is impossible to pull the fugitive out of the shelter without a shovel.
  • The battleships have a good sense of smell and hearing, but poor eyesight. They do not distinguish colors.
  • Armadillos sleep an average of 18.5 hours per day. Armadillos along with bonobo chimpanzees and humans are mammals that mate in a “missionary position”.
  • Armadillos can walk underwater. They have a very low oxygen demand and can hold their breath for 6 minutes, retaining air in the trachea and bronchi.
  • Armadillos are the only animals affected by leprosy.
  • After death, the genitals of the armadillo remain active for some time.
  • When the battleship is frightened, he curls up.
  • Armadillos love to climb into apartments.
  • The battleship is depicted on the coat of arms of Grenada.
  • The battleship has a body temperature of about 32 ° C. Because of this, they do not survive in areas with low temperatures. The female armadillo can freeze pregnancy for several years due to stress.
  • The battleships got their name in honor of the conquistadors - Spanish soldiers forged in steel armor.
  • The body length of the ancestors of the battleships reached 3 meters. From their carapace, the natives of South America made roofs for the huts. It turned out a kind of durable tile.
  • The most common type of armadillo is the nine-belted armadillo. In one sitting, they are able to eat about 40 thousand ants. Nine-belted battleships search for food by smell.
  • When the bristly armadillos feel danger, they pull their paws under the carapace and freeze in place. Pretending to be a stone, they try to deceive their enemies.
  • Battleships are parted, but they have more than enough teeth. Moreover, teeth are their real phenomenon. Not only do they all have the same structure and shape, without being divided into fangs, incisors like in many animals, small and completely without enamel, they still grow throughout life, and most importantly, their number can vary from 10 to 100.
  • A lot of armadillos perish under the wheels of cars, but a fairly large part of these animals become an object of hunting because of the taste characteristics of their meat. Some are destroyed by herders, whose cattle break their legs against their burrows, a certain amount was exterminated as laboratory animals. Is it any wonder that an armored beast is found less and less? You see, another hundred years, and the planet will forever lose another unique inhabitant.

Nine-Belt Armadillo

Settles in forests and shrubs from northern Argentina north to Mexico and west to the Andes. Over the past hundred years, he has settled from Mexico to the southern United States, reaching Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. The length of his body is 40–50 cm, the tail is from 25 to 40 cm, and his body weight is about 6 kg.

Digs burrows on the banks of streams and rivers always near trees and shrubs. Such a hole is a direct passage into which 2-3 holes with a diameter of 15–20 cm and a length of up to 7 m sometimes lead. The nest chamber at the end of the hole is lined with dry leaves and grass. This litter, especially after rains, the animal often changes, throwing away the old one, so that rotten leaves accumulate at the entrance. On hot days, the battleship leaves the hole only in the evening, in cool weather, finds food in the afternoon. Coming out of the hole, he sniffs, keeping his sharp muzzle near the ground. Zigzagging, he walks about one kilometer per hour, stopping at every step to dig up a worm or insect, which he senses to a depth of 20 cm. If he pursues an armadillo, he moves from a mincing step to a gallop and strives to escape into the hole, from where he not so easy to extract. In the hole, the battleship is jammed with shell and paws, and its slippery conical tail is difficult to grasp.

Mating happens more often in July, but after fertilization only the very first stages of egg development take place, which soon cease, and the dormancy stage lasts about 14 weeks, in October - November the embryo starts to develop again, and after 4 months, 4 same-sex cubs appear. The cubs are well developed, sighted, with a soft shell. Their mother feeds them for several weeks, and after 6 months they reach the size of adults.

The usual enemies of an armadillo - a wolf, a coyote, a cougar, as well as dogs, people and cars, a lot of armadillos die at night on the roads under the wheels of cars.

Southern long-nosed armadillo

Distributed in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Most often kept open habitats, in particular, wide grassy plains. The length of the body is 24–57 cm, the length of the tail is 12–48 cm.

Leads a solitary lifestyle. Active at different times of the day, depending on various factors: season, temperature, weather. It feeds on various invertebrates, which it digs out of the earth, destroys termite mounds with its powerful claws.

Armored Armadillo

Distributed in Western Argentina and surrounding areas of Bolivia and Chile.

It has a body length of 12–15 cm, a tail of 2.5–3 cm and a mass of about 90 g. It inhabits sandy open spaces or thickets of shrubs and cacti. Digs long underground passages, like moles, very rarely appears on the surface, where it is slow and helpless. It feeds on ants and larvae of other insects.

Small Bristly Armadillo

Distributed in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay. It inhabits subtropical and tropical dry forests, shrubby and grassy plains, hot deserts, pastures and plantations. They often dig the soil in search of food, therefore they are not found in rocky areas.

The breeding season is in the fall. Pregnancy lasts 60–75 days. There are several litters per year. There are usually 2 cubs in the litter, often male and female. A newborn weighs about 115 g, eyes open on 16-30 days, milk is fed up to 50-60 days. It reaches puberty at the age of 9 months.

Large Bristly Armadillo

Distributed in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay at an altitude of 1300 m above sea level. Inhabits grassy plains and savannahs, including pampas and chaco. Body length is 30–40 cm, weight is 2.5–3 kg.

Leads a nocturnal lifestyle. He escapes from the enemy by flight or hides in a hole, or presses his whole body to the ground so that the edges of the shell tightly touch the ground. There are 2 litters per year. Pregnancy lasts 2 months. There are usually 2 cubs in the litter (often male and female).

Andean bristle armadillo

Distributed in Bolivia and Northern Chile. The length of the body is 20–40 cm, the tail is 9–17 cm. In the summer, it leads a nocturnal lifestyle in order to avoid the heat of the day. However, in winter it can often be found in the daytime. Leads a solitary lifestyle, digs deep holes. Rarely uses a hole twice. Omnivore, eats small vertebrates, insects, and also vegetation.

Six-Belt Armadillo

Distributed north of Central Argentina to the lower Amazon. The length of his body is 40–50 cm, the tail is 20–25 cm, and his weight is 3.5–4.5 kg. Digs numerous temporary burrows in the savannah and often leaves the burrows during the day, even in bright sunshine. The course of an ordinary hole does not exceed 2 m and ends with a camera. In addition, there are many small holes, or rather, deep digs dug by the animal in search of food. It feeds on insects, worms and other invertebrates, as well as carrion.

Propagated 2 times a year. Pregnancy lasts 62–74 days. The female usually brings in 2 cubs, which are fed in the hole for a month.

Dwarf Armadillo

Distributed from Central and Southern Argentina, west to the Chilean Andes and south to the Strait of Magellan. The length of the body is 26–33 cm, the tail is 10–14 cm.

Leads a solitary day lifestyle. Digging holes. It feeds on insects, worms and other invertebrates. In the spring, immediately after leaving hibernation, the breeding season begins. Pregnancy lasts 60 days, after which 1-2 babies are born. The cub leaves the mother’s hole at the 6th week of life. Puberty occurs at 9 months.

Southern Tailed Armadillo

Distributed in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. The body length is 65–70 cm, the tail length is 15–17 cm, and the body weight is about 6 kg. Inhabits tropical rainforests as well as dry grassy plains. It feeds on termites, breaking openings at the base of their buildings up to 5 m long, into which it lies, mining inhabitants.

Great Naked Armadillo

Distributed in Northern Argentina, Uruguay, Southern Brazil. Body length about 63.7 cm, body weight - 5.3 kg. Leads a nocturnal lifestyle. The main foods are termites and ants. At first it breaks stumps or termite mounds with powerful claws, then it takes out prey with a long sticky tongue. It moves slowly, resting on the claws of the front and the soles of the hind legs. At the moment of danger, it can go on a fairly fast run or bury itself in the ground for several minutes. He sleeps in a hole, but uses a hole only once and never returns to it.

Giant armadillo

Distributed in the eastern parts of South America, from Guiana to Central Argentina (Buenos Aires), it inhabits forests, shrubs, less often - open areas. Avoids settlements, and if it appears near a person’s housing, farmers seek to destroy it, because in search of food an armadillo digs up fields. Body length - 90–100 cm, tail - 50 cm and body weight of about 50 kg.

Its digging activity is very great, and often you can see the edges, clearings or groves, completely torn by a giant armadillo to a great depth. Having stood on its hind legs and resting on the tail, with its powerful sharp claws, it destroys all termite mounds on the way. His hole is dug with such a wide hole that a person can crawl into it. The main food is termites and ants, but it can also eat small mammals: mice and rats.

Southern Three-Belted Armadillo

Widely distributed in southwestern Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and northern Argentina. The length of the body is 35–45 cm, the tail is 7–9 cm. The burrow, apparently, does not dig, but uses burrows of other species of armadillos or viskacha. In danger, it can curl up into an almost whole shell shell. It feeds mainly on ants and termites, digging them with its powerful paws from the ground or from under the roots of trees. Pregnancy (with a latent stage) lasts 5–6 months, then, more often in November, the female brings one cub.

Brazilian Three-Belted Armadillo

Inhabits the steppes, deserts, savannahs and forest edges of Brazil. The body length is 35–45 cm, the tail is 6–8 cm. The body weight is about 1.5 kg. They lead mainly a solitary lifestyle, but sometimes they can gather in groups of up to 3 individuals. They don’t dig a hole; they prefer to rest in dense vegetation. These are territorial animals, mark their territory with liquid from glands located on the muzzle, legs and stomach.

The breeding season lasts from October to January. Pregnancy lasts 120 days, after which it gives birth to 1 cub with a soft shell. The shell hardens in the third or fourth week.The lactation period lasts about 10 weeks.

Where to look?

If you do not plan to go to South America, but want to see these amazing animals with your own eyes, then visit the Moscow Zoo. The first similar animal here could be seen back in 1964. But the beast did not live here permanently, but was brought for a while, as part of the "traveling" animals. He was a participant in lectures with a demonstration of animals. In 1975, the “visiting” group arrived again at the zoo. Among them were a female and a male of nine-belt battleships. But the expected offspring from them in captivity was not received. In 1985, this brutal delegation included 7 bristle armadillos arriving from Buenos Aires. Then they were transferred to the Riga Zoo.

Since 2000, armadillos have been living in the zoo on an ongoing basis. They were settled along with sloths in the "Toothless" enclosure, with which they get along very well. This pavilion is located between the old and the new territory, near the bridge.

One interesting feature of the bristled armadillo led to a misunderstanding. The animal simply loved to sleep on its back, during such a rest quickly fingering with legs. Visitors thought the battleship was bad, and rushed in search of zoo employees for help. This has happened many times. Therefore, the staff decided to make an inscription, it says that the animal just loves to sleep on its back, and now such misunderstandings do not occur.

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