Armadillos are mammals of the order Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra along with the anteaters and sloths. They are small to medium-sized armored arboreal mammals known for their protective bony shell.
Armadillos are found in North, Central and South America. They are named after their armor, which is made up of bony plates called osteoderms or scutes, and can exceed 4 inches (10 cm) in thickness. The nine-banded armadillo can roll into a ball as a means of defense. The name “armadillo” comes from Spanish word “armado” meaning armed or armored.
All species of armadillo have a fixed number of teeth: four on both the upper and lower jaws, with no incisors or canines. Their digestive system is simple; they have one stomach and intestines with three chambers. Like many other xenarthrans, armadillos do not have sweat glands, but despite this they are able to maintain their body temperature at about 30 °C using behavioral thermoregulation.
Last modified: November 20, 2022