10 Cool Facts About Armadillos

We ❤️ armadillos, especially our current nine-banded armadillo patient, Myron! Here are some especially cool and weird facts about these especially cool and weird animals.

  1. Armadillos have some of the largest penises, in proportion to their body size, of any mammal. Their penises are about 30-60% of their total body length. That’s the equivalent of an average human man being endowed with 20-40 inches.
  2. Despite their appearance, armadillos aren’t closely related to pangolins, aardvarks, or opossums. Their closest living relatives are anteaters and sloths.
  3. Armadillos can hold their breath for an average of 6 minutes. This is an adaptation to enable them to survive being underground in muddy and flooded burrows.
  4. Nine-banded armadillos first came to the U.S. around 1900, using their breath-holding skills to cross the Rio Grande. They have thrived here due to climate change and the loss of large predators.
  5. Armadillos have two methods of swimming: they can inhale and float or exhale and walk along a river bottom.
  6. An armadillo can eat up to 40,000 fire ants in one feeding, making them excellent neighbors to have around.
  7. An armadillo always gives birth to exactly four identical young. After an egg is fertilized, the female stores it until an ideal time for it to begin growing. The egg then splits into four embryos, which develop into well-developed young before birth.
  8. Armadillos have a naturally low body temperature of just 93 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to most other mammals, which have an average body temperatures of about 101 degrees.
  9. The Aztec word for an armadillo literally translates to “turtle rabbit,” while the English and Spanish term means “little armored one.”
  10. You are still hung up on #1.
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