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Striped Mammal Week: Nine-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)

Posted on Mar 25, 2008 by in Other Orders, Theme Weeks | 3 comments

The second 24-Hour Mammalthon is coming soon! Get ready!

Dasypus novemcinctus

Number 0131

When I first planned a Striped Mammal Week, I had the idea to pick mammals whose names contained seven different synonyms of the word “striped.” I had a variegated something, a streaked something, a lined something, and this fellow, the nine-banded armadillo. That idea didn’t pan out (and really, who would have noticed?), but our armadillo friend is here nevertheless.

Once my husband Ted and I were playing 20 Questions. I was guessing, and after a demanding and confusing half hour or so, I had determined that I was looking for a reptile commonly associated with Texas that was about the size of a breadbox and neither a rattlesnake or a horny toad. Well, I started to get a creeping suspicion. “No,” I thought, “it can’t be.” But I asked him: “You do know armadillos are mammals, right?” Poor sheepish Ted!

I’ve told that story to maybe three people, and two of them said “Armadillos are mammals??” so maybe Ted shouldn’t feel too bad. Despite their plates of armor (the Spanish word for which gives them their common name), armadillos are indeed mammals. Nocturnal mammals, to be exact, that eat insects and live in South and Central America and in south-central America. Their armor, according to Ivan T. Sanderson in How to Know the American Mammals, is made of “numbers of tiny, checker-like bones formed in the skin and fused solidly together”! I wish, actually, that I could just type out his whole description of the armadillo, because it’s so good. But I’ll just leave you with the fact that this mammal’s Latin name means “nine-girdled hairy-footed one.”

3 Comments

  1. Jennifer: I should have read before I posted. I really like the armadillo and spelled it wrong. They do have a reptile look with the armored shell. I have seen them when visiting Texas.

  2. Unfortunately, you’re most likely to see them dead on the side of the road! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a live one, to tell you the truth.

  3. I’m far behind as you can see. This is a great drawing and good story.

    Thanks..I had never thought about them being a mammal or whatever. Hmmm.

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