Today’s Florida Armadillos are direct descendants of pre-historic creatures that have been around
more than fifty-five million years. There are twenty plus species found living from the
southern United States to the tip of Argentina. Armadillos can range in size from the
seven-inch long endangered species called a pink fairy, to the hundred or more pound giant Naples
Here in the United States However, the nine-banded Naples armadillo is the only one we have. Armadillo literally means "Little armored one" in Spanish. It refers to the armored like appearance of their reticulated hides. The name was given to the unusual animal by the early Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez. He and his soldiers were so amazed when they encountered them in Mexico in 1520, He even took one back to Spain to show the royal family. Armadillos are really a one-of-a-kind Florida animal. There is nothing else quite like it found anywhere else in nature.
Normally, the naturally shy Florida Armadillo is not a problem for people; it prefers living in dank woody areas away from the hustle and bustle of civilization. Often man encroaches on their territory and they find themselves in a field or garden. But they can be a major pest if they wander into a suburban area, or decide to take up residence in agricultural areas. Because of their slow metabolism, and inability to store body fat, they must spend all their waking hours in search of bugs, grubs, and other invertebrates that live in soil and roots of your beloved yard. In their never ending search for insects to eat, Naples armadillos can dig up quite a bit of land in just one night. Because of their very strong legs and claws for tearing apart roots and logs, they can be quite devastating to anything buried underground. They are not only destructive when rooting around for food in a farmer’s field, but can destroy underwater pipes, and wiring as well!
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