By Cheri Sicard
If you have ever traveled to the Southeastern United States you have likely seen them, nine-banded armadillos, or Dasypus novemcinctus. In all likelihood, you saw them as the sad by-product of America’s roads and highways, i.e., roadkill.
You might have even seen these odd-looking animals beyond the Southeastern U.S. According to the National Wildlife Federation, their range has been expanding northward for more than 100 years. Some have even been spotted as far north as Illinois and Nebraska.
Nonetheless, the nine-banded armadillo does prefer forested or grassland habitats in warm, wet climates.
Why not expand your knowledge and learn a little more about these weird prehistoric-looking creatures?
In the video below, RVers from the Travel Small Live Big YouTube channel were visited by a nine-banded armadillo during the afternoon. As the animals are usually nocturnal, this was unusual.
They took this opportunity to show some great video footage of the cute little guy, as well as share six interesting facts about him and his brethren (I know the video title says five, but I counted six).
So what’s so interesting about nine-banded armadillos?
- They almost always have litters of quadruplets.
- They might not look like it, but they can swim. They are able to cross rivers and streams and can hold their breath for up to six minutes!
- Again, it might not look like it, but nine-banded armadillos jump or leap when startled. According to the video, they can jump as much as 5 feet into the air!
- They live between 7 to 20 years in the wild.
- Their diets consist mainly of insects—all kinds of insects, many of which we consider pests.
- They can carry and transmit leprosy to humans. Therefore, never cuddle with an armadillo!
A couple of decades ago one of my Boy Scouts ran down an armadillo while carrying a fully loaded backpack. He seized the tail just as the critter dived into a burrow. It was impossible to pull him out. One of the dads figured out that the critter had dug his claws into the sandy sides of the burrow. The youth was being razzed for not being able to pull out the armadillo by another dad so the first dad took over the tail grip, then suddenly punched the dillo forward and yanked back. He let go of the dillo and it described a lovely arc thro the air, landing on the razzer, who freaked out, freezing and allowing the dillo to escape. Dad#2 then got a batch of razzing from tge youth & Dad#1. “thought you said you WANTED an armadillo! We put him right in your arms and you dropped him!”
You don’t want to cuddle with any wild animal! In fact, getting a close-up photo without a telephoto lens is usually too close. Any wildlife expert can provide stories about dumb tourists.
You said armadillos eat insects – quite true, but boy can they rip up an RV park rooting for those insects!
They do that to my backyard too.
I always thought they originated in the southwest, I had never seen one until I was driving through Texas several years ago, I’m talking back in the 60’s. In AL thy call them a possum on a half shell. Lol
They are moving north and can now be found in Southern Illinois.
They can tear up a Florida yard as well.