Can Armadillos Swim? (Are they too heavy)

Armadillos are one of a kind animals! Did you know that armadillos are the only mammal that has a shell? Or that their name means “little armored one?” They are very interesting creatures and there are so many cool facts about them. Read on to learn some fun facts about armadillos! 

Can armadillos swim? Armadillos are actually surprisingly good swimmers. They can even walk underwater to cross a stream if they need to. Another thing that helps these animals swim is the fact that they can hold their breath for up to six minutes

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Table of Contents

Where do armadillos live? 

Armadillos do not like being cold. They live in warm or hot climates and this is because they have a low metabolic rate. Due to this, cold weather can wipe out an entire population of armadillos. They can be found in environments such as rainforests, grasslands, or the desert. In these areas, most armadillos dig burrows, in which they spend a lot of time in. Armadillos will spend about 16 hours a day sleeping in their burrows, so they need to make sure that they pick a comfy place to live.  

What continents do armadillos live in? 

Armadillos can be found in South America and Central America, but they are not found anywhere else in the world! On occasion, a nine-banded armadillo will venture up from Central America to the southwest area of the United States.

What do armadillos eat? 

Armadillos go hunting for bugs like beetles, ants, and termites. They usually go out and search for food in the early morning and in the early evening. They do not have very good eyesight. Instead, they rely on their strong sense of smell to get their food.

They also use their strong legs and claws to dig and their long and sticky tongues to get their prey from the tunnels that the insects live in. On top of their diet of insects, armadillos will sometimes scavenge for dead animals or eggs.  

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Armadillo Infographic
Armadillo Infographic. Pin It!

How big do armadillos get? 

There are over 20 different species of armadillos and they range in size. The smallest armadillo is called the pink fairy armadillo and they usually grow to be about 6 inches long. On the opposite end of the spectrum is giant armadillos. And they sure do get giant! Giant armadillos can grow to be over 5 feet long.

Because of the differences in the sizes of armadillos, there is also a large range in the weight of armadillos. Some armadillos only weigh a few ounces (the pink fairy armadillos usually weigh about 3 ounces), while larger species can weigh up to 120 pounds. 

Do armadillos live in groups? 

Armadillos are pretty solitary animals. For the most part, armadillos live by themselves at all times. Armadillos will meet up with other armadillos when it is time to breed, but then they will go their separate ways. The only other exception to armadillos living in groups comes from when it is cold- to preserve heat and stay warm, a group of armadillos will share a burrow and share body heat when it gets unseasonably cold.  

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What color are armadillos? 

Armadillos can come in many different colors! Armadillos can be pink, red, black, yellow, or grey.

How does the armadillo’s armor work? 

Armadillos have some predators that they need to be able to protect themselves against like mountain lions, coyotes, and bears. They would not be able to really defend themselves with their claws or their teeth, so instead they have to protect themselves with their armor. Even though these animals have their own built in armor, they will also run and hide from predators or jump in the air in an attempt to try to scare the predator away. 

All armadillos have soft bellies that are exposed and the three-banded armadillo has another way to protect itself. These armadillos will roll themselves up into a ball when they feel threatened. They will cover up their belly and tuck in its head and legs under the shell, leaving no flesh exposed.  

Interestingly enough, the armor, also known as a carapace, is made from tough scales that are derived from skin tissue.