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The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), or the nine-banded, long-nosed armadillo, is a medium-sized mammal. It is found in North, Central, and South America, making it the most widespread of the armadillos. Nine is the typical number of bands on the nine-banded armadillo.
The armadillo can jump 3–4 ft (91–120 cm) straight in the air if sufficiently frightened, making it a particular danger on roads.
The outer shell is composed of ossified dermal scutes covered by nonoverlapping, keratinized epidermal scales, which are connected by flexible bands of skin. This armor covers the back, sides, head, tail, and outside surfaces of the legs. The underside of the body and the inner surfaces of the legs have no armored protection. Instead, they are covered by tough skin and a layer of coarse hair.
Nine-banded armadillos are generally insectivores. They forage for meals by thrusting their snouts into loose soil and leaf litter and frantically digging in erratic patterns, stopping occasionally to dig up grubs, beetles (perhaps the main portion of this species' prey selection), ants, termites, and worms, which their sensitive noses can detect through 8 inches (20 cm) of soil. They then lap up the insects with their sticky tongues.
Nine-banded armadillos reach sexual maturity at the age of one year, and reproduce every year for the rest of their 12–15 year lifespans.
November 18th, 2012
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