Wildlife: The Nine-Banded Armadillo

Nine-banded Armadillo crossing road.

He got across…this time.

This is Passport to Texas

The nine-banded armadillo is a Texas icon that has captured the imagination and hearts of Texans and non-Texans a like. Sadly, though, the only time some of us have seen an armadillo is in a flattened state on Texas highways.

About the size of a terrier dog…and covered with bony plates the color of pavement…it’s easy to understand why motorists might not see the armadillo as it attempts to cross roadways on summer evenings in search of food.

Speaking of the preferred cuisine of armadillos… they enjoy a diet of worms, beetles, larvae and caterpillars, among other “delicacies.”

Armadillos generally live where the soil is easily dug – because they probe for food beneath its surface. You’ll find the largest populations of armadillos where the soil texture is sandy.

Although the armadillo can swim, it tires easily when forced to go a long distance. Yet, if the stream is narrow enough, you might just see this unusual little creature enter the water on one bank, walk underwater along the bottom, and come out on the other side. Interesting, huh?

They’re also able to ingest air, which makes them more buoyant for the times when they do swim. I bet you never think of armadillos in quite the same way again.

Well, that’s our show…thank you for joining us. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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