Search more about Pets and Animal

Share Animal Facts & Trivia

Share |

Monday, December 8, 2008

Armadillos: Great body structure for medical research

  • The scientific name of the nine banded armadillo is Dasypus novemcinctus. Dasypus is from the Greek word for rabbit, novem is from the Latin word for nine and cinctus is from the Latin word for a band.
  • The word armadillo is Spanish for "little armored one."
  • Armadillos spend about 80% of their lives sleeping.
  • Armadillos are not blind, but they do have poor eyesight.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the nine-banded armadillo can not roll itself into a ball to escape predators!! Only one of the twenty-odd varieties of armadillos — the three-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus) — is able to roll up.
  • Nine-banded armadillos always give birth to four identical young — the only mammal known to do so.
  • Armadillos are used in leprosy research because their body temperatures are low enough for them to contract the most virulent form of the disease.
  • Armadillos like to swim, and they are very good at it.
  • Armadillo teeth have no enamel.
  • Like most insect eating mammals, armadillos have a very long, sticky tongue to slurp up bugs as quickly as possible.
  • Armadillos have a very low metabolic rate, which means they don’t produce much body heat.
  • One way that armadillos conserve energy is through reta mirabila (Latin for “miraculous net”) — a system of veins and arteries in their legs.
  • Baby armadillos have soft shells, like human fingernails.
  • In many parts of the world, including the United States, you might find armadillo meat on the menu.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Superorder: Xenarthra
Order: Cingulata

Armadillos are small placental mammals, known for having a leathery armor shell. The other types are covered with too many bony plates to allow them to curl up. Other armadillos have to rely on their armored shells for defense while they scuttle away through thick, thorny brush or dig themselves a hole to hide in. They also do not have a very strong immune system, making them an ideal model for many types of medical research.

“Virgin births” Armadillos are a result of the female’s ability to delay implantation of the fertilized egg during times of stress. This reproductive tactic is one reason why the armadillos are so good at colonizing new areas (such as the United States). Armadillos have a strong dog paddle, and can even go quite a distance underwater, walking along the bottom of streams and ponds. They can hold their breath for four to six minutes at a time. When they need to cross larger bodies of water, they swim across. Because their heavy shell makes it hard for them to float, they gulp air into their intestines to make them more buoyant. The ability to cross streams and rivers has helped armadillos expand their home range. Armadillos also have very few teeth — just several peg-like molars. Since they primarily eat insects, they don’t have to do a lot of heavy chewing, making big, strong teeth a waste of energy to grow. They also are equipped with strong claws to tear open ant nests. Their cousins, the anteaters, have very similar tongues and claws.

Armadillos are not good at living in cold areas, because they can’t keep warm very well! Armadillos don’t have a lot of body fat, so they must forage for food on a daily basis. Just a few cold days in a row can be deadly to an armadillo. Despite this fact, armadillos are steadily moving north. Hot blood going out through arteries is cooled by cold blood coming in through veins, and vice versa. This means that not much heat actually goes out into the legs, keeping it in the body. This also means they will get frostbitten very easily, since they have no way to warm their extremities through blood flow. Marine mammals, like whales, use a similar net of veins and arteries to stop the loss of body heat through the fins.


Articles and Contents Republishing Policy

This blog provides articles and information about pets and animals. Readers, publishers and visitors are allowed to share, republish or reprint articles or partial contents found in this blog and should kindly follow the following terms and conditions;
  • °-°You should also provide free access to the articles or contents and should be sold at any manner.
  • °-°Upon copying/re-publishing, you should also include a reference to the author and the site.
  • °-°You should provide direct link/s to the certain page or homepage of the site.
  • °-°When translating to other language and republishing any contents from this site, the above terms should also be observed.
  • °-°For any other concerns about republishing, please email the author at
Here's the code for link Reference upon republication:

It should be look like this: Animal Facts and Trivia articles courtesy of