Having its origins in South America, it is widely referred to as the long nosed armadillo. It is highly nocturnal and largely solitary. It survives in a wide range of habitats such as rain forests, dry scrubs as well as grassland vegetations. The nine- banded armadillo is able to adapt and survive in different habitats but cannot cope with extremely hot and acute cold environments. The reason behind this is their large body surface area that exposes them to heat making them loose a lot of moisture from their bodies. They basically lack fat insulation.
The nine banded Armadillo has a body length measuring roughly between 38 -58 cm with its head included. It’s fairly longer tail measures about 51-110 cm and has a body height of about 15-25 cm. Its body is covered by a shell with flexible skin coverings and an armor covering its head and tail. Their underside lacks armor but have tough skin and hair that appears to be coarse. Their front feet claws are well adapted for digging and they are highly characterized by reduced metabolism rates and poor heat regulation on their bodies. Generally, this species of armadillo has nine bands but this may vary in respect to their geographical distribution.
They have greatly expanded their range all over North America and are widely spread in Florida, South Carolina as well as Oklahoma and other states. Lack of many natural predators makes them spread all over also aided by their high reproduction rates. They are unable to hibernate which explains their increased migration during winter.
In its behavioral patterns, the nine banded armadillo is highly fearful and tends to run away when posed by a threat of danger. It can make a high jump before running away which makes it very vulnerable to traffic accidents. By inflating its intestines, it’s able to float on water which makes them possible to have river bed rests.
The nine banded Armadillo are largely insectivorous animal consuming insects such as beetles and termites which they dig up in soil. An adaptive feature of their feeding is their highly sensitive noses that can detect insects buried in the soil. Their tongues are sticky which makes them lap so many insects at once. As a supplement, they also consume small reptiles and amphibians as well as fungi and tubers.
During mating season, they mate for a very long time spanning for more than two months. In Northern America, this happens in the month of July where eggs are fertilized. Only a single egg can be fertilized in a female at any given time. In an effort to ensure that off springs are only born under favorable conditions, implantation of the fertilized egg is always delayed. The gestation period of a nine banded Armadillo is about four giving birth to quadruplets. The mother lactates them for about three months while still in the burrow. They are then able to eat soft forage and by six months of age they are kicked out of the burrow to start their own independent lives. By the age of one year they are sexually active and reproduce once in a year. They have a life span ranging between 12-15 years.
The nine banded Armadillo cause great damages to plants which it feeds on their roots. Their burrows are invaded by rattle snakes and rats that use them as their homes. Man poses a great danger to them by hunting them for game. Their behavior of killing poultry also makes then killed often by man. However, they are found in numerous numbers thus are definitely not posed with a threat of extinction in the near future.