Armadillos Armadillos are very unique mammals. They are the only mammals with a shell, they eat fire ants, and some even carry leprosy! Armadillos eat a variety of different foods. 90% of the food they eat is insects, but they also eat earthworms, scorpions, and spiders. They are the only animal in the U.S. known to eat fire ants. According to Sciencing.com some species will also eat skinks, lizards, small frogs, snakes, and the eggs of some other animals, which can be found in their habitats.
Only one type of armadillo lives in the U.S. Central and South America is where most armadillos live.
They mostly live in Central and South America because they need sandy or loose soil to burrow in, warm temperatures above seventy degrees fahrenheit, and forests near the equator so the armadillos and their pups can be warm. Baby armadillos are called pups. The pups are born with soft gray skin that feels like leather. There are usually one to twelve pups in a litter. Nine banded armadillos only give birth to quadruplets of the same gender.
They do this because it helps them survive. So if one armadillo dies the other three survive and can go on living in their burrows. Armadillos are not very social animals. They only come together in a large group when their mating or when it is cold outside. Even when it is cold outside and more armadillos means more warmth they will only burrow with others of the same gender or with their pups.
Not being social could be good for armadillos because it would help them not spread diseases to each other. Nine banded armadillos are known to carry leprosy (Hansen’s Disease). Leprosy is a disease that affects mostly your nerves, skin, and eyes. Armadillos are the only animal that carries this disease besides humans. Twenty percent of nine banded armadillos are infected with leprosy. The chances of getting infected by one is small but you still should not pet or eat one. Now you know what they eat, where they live, what they are called, their social life, and that they carry leprosy.