The armadillo is a small mammal that has a tough leathery covering instead of fur. They have sharp claws that they use for digging and a low body temperature of 33–36 °C.There are 20 species of armadillo and they are all native to the Americas. An armadillo is generally around 30 inches (75 cm) in length, but the Giant Armadillo can grow to 59 inches (150cm) in length. The smallest armadillo is the Pink Fairy Armadillo which has an average length of 5-6 inches (12-15 cm). The only species of armadillo to live in the United States is the Nine-Banded armadillo and it can be found predominately in the central southernmost states.
The Diet of the Armadillo
The diet of the armadillo differs between the species, but most armadillos have a diet that consists mainly of insects, grubs and other invertebrates. There are particular species that feed only on ants and termites and can eat over 40,000 in one feed. Most armadillos will dig where they can locate soft, damp soil such as river banks, under fallen trees to find worms, grubs and insects. Armadillo will also eat scorpions, spiders as well as berries and roots. Very rarely an armadillo may eat small reptiles and amphibians and may seek out eggs.
Warning! It is wise not to touch or approach an armadillo as they do carry disease. Some armadillo are infected with mycobacterium leprae which causes leprosy in humans. The microbe is transferred when the armadillo scratches or bites another mammal.