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  1. Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)
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  4. Nine-Banded Armadillo

Observations by field workers strongly indicate that the armadillo, which usually leaves conspicuous signs of its presence, often is accused of the destruction of quail and chicken nests when the culprit is actually some other animal. Berries and fungi made up 2. Reports indicate that at times the armadillo may feed on such fruits as tomatoes and melons but the amount of damage done to these crops is relatively small.

Carrion is readily eaten when available, and dead carcasses of animals frequently are visited not only for the carrion present but also for the maggots and pupae of flies found on or near them.

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Reproduction in the nine-banded armadillo is marked by two distinct and apparently unrelated phenomena: the long period of arrested development of the blastocyst prior to implantation delayed implantation , and the phenomenon of specific polyembryony, which results in the normal formation of identical quadruplets. In normal years about half of the females become pregnant by the end of July, which is the beginning of the breeding season. At days the ovum forms a blastocyst and passes into the uterus.

At this point development ceases, and the vesicle remains free in the uterus. Here it is constantly bathed in fluids secreted by the glandular lining of the uterus, which supplies enough nutrition and oxygen for survival. Implantation does not occur until November, about 14 weeks after fertilization. During this process, the blastocyst divides into growth centers, each of which very shortly redivides to produce four embryonic growth centers attached by a common placenta to the uterus. Development of each of the embryos then proceeds normally, and the four young are born approximately 4 months later in March, although some females have been noted with new litters as early as February and as late as the latter part of May.

Young are born fully formed and with eyes open.

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Within a few hours they are walking, and they begin to accompany the mother on foraging expeditions within a few weeks. The nursing period is probably less than 2 months, but the young may remain with the mother even after weaning until they are several months old. Normally the young born in one year mature during the winter and mate for the first time in the early summer of the following year. This phenomenon of delayed implantation may, in part, account for the successful invasion of the armadillo into temperate regions. Without this characteristic of the reproductive cycle, the young would be born at the beginning of winter, when their chance of survival would be greatly reduced.

Apparently, the reproductive cycle is easily affected by adverse environmental conditions, particularly drought conditions. This probably is due to the shortage of ground insects or the difficulty of obtaining these in sandy or hard dried soils. Armadillos are believed to pair for each breeding season, and a male and a female may share a burrow during the season.

Because of the bony carapace and ventral position of the genitalia, copulation occurs with the female lying on her back. Armadillos are frequently utilized as food in parts of Texas and Mexico. The meat is light-colored and when properly cooked is considered by some the equal of pork in flavor and texture. The common occurrence of this species in eastern Texas is a phenomenon that has developed largely since About the size of a small dog, armadillos live throughout Texas, except in the Trans-Pecos.

Their bony shell acts like armor and provides protects from predators.

Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)

Armadillos have powerful claws for digging up meals, mostly insects and their larvae. They also dig burrows in which to den. The softer the ground, the better they dig. Although considered pests by some, the armadillo also eats grubs, which are particularly harmful to crops. Because they have almost no hair to help regulate their body temperature, armadillos forage for food in summer evenings and on warm winter afternoons.

They make noise while foraging and are fairly easy to sneak up on. When surprised, they leap straight up in the air, to startle any attacker while they scurry off to a safe den. The armadillo has an interesting method for crossing water, because its heavy shell causes it to sink. When faced with narrow streams or water-filled ditches, the armadillo will simply walk across the bottom, under water! Fall Color Updates.

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