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Monday, July 25, 2011

Nine-banded Armadillo-Dasypus Novemcinctus

Beauty Of Animal | Nine-banded Armadillo-Dasypus Novemcinctus| The Nine-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), or the nine-banded long-nosed armadillo, is a species of armadillo found in North, Central, and South America, making it the most widespread of the armadillos. Its ancestors originated in South America and remained there until 3 million years ago when the formation of the Isthmus of Panama allowed them to enter North America as part of the Great American Interchange. The nine-banded long-nosed armadillo is a solitary, mainly nocturnal animal, found in many kinds of habitats, from mature and secondary rainforests to grassland and dry scrub. It is an insectivorous animal, feeding chiefly on ants, termites, and other small invertebrates. The armadillo can jump 3–4 feet (91–120 cm) straight in the air if sufficiently frightened, making it a particular danger on roads
The Nine-Banded Armadillo evolved in a warm rainy environment and is still most commonly found in regions resembling its ancestral home. However, it is a very adaptable animal that can also be found in scrublands, open prairies, and tropical rainforests. They cannot thrive in particularly cold or dry environments, as their large surface area, which is not well insulated by fat, makes them especially susceptible to heat and water loss
The Nine-Banded Armadillo has been rapidly expanding its range both north and east within the United States. The armadillo crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico in the late 19th century and was introduced in Florida at about the same time by humans. By 1995 the species had become well-established in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, and had been sighted as far afield as Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. A decade later, the armadillo had become established in all of those areas and continued its migration, being sighted as far north as southern Nebraska, southern Illinois, and southern Indiana.

The primary cause of this rapid expansion is explained simply by the existence of few or no natural predators of the armadillo within the United States, little desire on the part of Americans to hunt or eat the armadillo, and the animal's high reproductive rate. It is speculated that the northern expansion of the armadillo will continue until the species reaches as far north as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey and all points southward on the East Coast of the United States. Further northward and westward expansion will probably be limited by the armadillo's poor tolerance of harsh winters, due to its lack of insulating fat and its inability to hibernate. As of 2009, newspaper reports indicate that the Nine-Banded Armadillo seems to have expanded its range northward as far as Lincoln, Nebraska in the west, and as far north as Kentucky Dam and Evansville, Indiana in the east.
broken citationnot in citation given In late 2009, the state of North Carolina began considering the establishment of a hunting season for armadillo, following reports that the species has been moving into the southern reaches of the state (roughly between the areas of Charlotte, North Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina). Outside the United States, the nine-banded armadillo ranges southward through Central and South America into northern Argentina and Uruguay, where it is still expanding its range. In 1995, armadillos were only seen in the southern tip of South Carolina, however, in two to three years had swept across most of the state.

Nine-banded armadillos are solitary, largely nocturnal animals that come out to forage around dusk. They are extensive burrowers, with a single animal sometimes maintaining up to 12 burrows on its range. These burrows are roughly 8 inches (20 cm) wide, 7 feet (2.1 m) deep, and 25 feet (7.6 m) long. Armadillos mark their territory with urine, feces, and excretions from scent glands found on the eyelids, nose, and feet. Females tend to have exclusive, clearly defined territories. Males have larger territories, but theirs often overlap, and can coincide with the ranges of several females. Territorial disputes are settled by kicking and chasing. When they are not foraging, armadillos shuffle along fairly slowly, stopping occasionally to sniff the air for signs of danger. If alarmed, they can flee with surprising speed. If this method of escape fails, the armadillo may quickly dig a shallow trench and lodge itself inside. Predators are rarely able to dislodge the animal, and abandon their prey when they cannot breach the armadillo’s armor

Mating takes place during a 2–3 month long mating season, which occurs from July–August in the Northern Hemisphere and November–January in the Southern Hemisphere. A single egg is fertilized, but implantation is delayed for 3–4 months to ensure the young will not be born during an unfavorable time. Once the zygote does implant in the uterus, there is a gestation period of four months during which the zygote splits into four identical embryos, which each develop their own placenta so blood and nutrients are not mixed between them. After birth, the quadruplets remain in the burrow, living off the mother’s milk for approximately three months. They then begin to forage with the mother, eventually leaving after six months to a year. Nine-banded armadillos reach sexual maturity at the age of one year, and reproduce every year for the rest of their 12–15 year lifespan. A single female can produce up to 56 young over the course of her life. This high reproductive rate is a major cause of the species’ rapid expansion

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