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Types of Animals
Twenty different armadillo species live in South, Central and North America. The nine-banded armadillo (dasypus novemcinctus) is sole representative in the United States.
A non-native species, the armadillo's athleticism and adaptability partly explains its presence in the United States.
One found along the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, in a short one hundred and fifty year period the Armadillo's range has extended north, east and west.
Walking was, and is, their preferred mode of transportation. When necessary, they climb. When all else failed, they also swim.
Interestingly enough, an armadillo possesses the ability to holds its breath and walk along the bottom of a shallow waterway, or it can swallow a substantial amount of air, inflate its stomach and float.
As a novelty animal, armadillos were exported to other states for exhibit. Additional releases and continued northern migration has resulted in their current range now extending from Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
Assuming continued warming trends, reason suggests further northern migration.
Adaptability also describes the nine-banded armadillo's success in the United States. Where once it consumed mostly ants and termites, over time it has learned to become omnivorous, eating most any material found in its area including fruit, nuts, reptiles, insects and turtle eggs.
Where once it was a nocturnal animal, it has learned to come out during the warmer days of winter to avoid some of the cold of the northern climates.
While their athleticism and tenacity might be cause for calling them All-American animals, new research suggests that the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), carries the bacterium for leprosy, a less than All-American trait.
© 2006-2011. Patricia A. Michaels