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"AND""OR"

Armadillo
The Armadillo is any of several small American mammals with bony plates in their upper body skin. They usually eat insects, earthworms, spiders, and land snails. The Armadillo is a very unusual creature. It has tremendous claws, but no fighting instinct. It has teeth, but not in the front of the jaw, except for the milk teeth that some have during infancy. It has a long tongue for catching insects. Another unique phenomena is their coat of armor which is a bony plate on the outside of their body. Each species has a different pattern for every little plate they carry. They all are great burrowers. They sink a hole, with them in it, as one approaches. It takes a good man to haul even a little one back if it is halfway down it's retreat under the ground. The armadillo's shell is its best protection. The shell is made up of many small plates of bony armor fitted closely together. It is hard and stiff, but is joined across the animal's back. This jointing allows one genus to curl itself up into a hard tight ball with the shell on the outside and its head and feet tucked in out of harm's way. Few animals are then able to get a grip on the armadillo with their teeth or claws. But the armadillo hides in its shell only as a last resort It usually hurries into its burrow at the first sign of danger. They are active, running with a tiptoe trot. Their trot is as an aged pony that is tired. They have a varied diet. They hunt by night. Today's Armadillos are not the biggest armadillos that have ever existed. The soil of South America is full of larger Armadillo bones from the past. Some of the past bones were as much as sixteen feet long including the tail. Some even migrated to Texas. There are several species of these animals. The Six-banded Armadillos were good burrowers and massive devourers of insects. They also ate vegetable matter and were useful for devouring carrion. One specie called the Peludo was clumsy but it was effective in getting a snake to its armored hide and grinding the life out of it. It then eats the snake, and is not affected by the poison. The king of the tribe is the Great Armadillo. It is a big creature in appearance, a yard in length from nose to tail covered with the armor. It even has armor on its legs. Its claws are very long and awfully strong. The Three- banded Armadillos had a further protection. They are able to curl up like a hedgehog and present an impenetrable ball to an enemy. It is similar than that of a hedgehog or the porcupine, but it is more interesting because of the way they fit themselves into their armor. Their head and tail pass perfectly through openings in the upper surface of the armor. These openings are bony doors. The back of a typical Glyptodon was covered with a solid piece of bony armor. The tail looked like a bunch of bony rings. The backbone was solid except at the neck. At the neck, there is a joint which allows the head to fit under the bony plate. Some members of the family had tails of solid bone. Bibliography: Prodigy - Grolier Electronic Publishing, 1990, A-section The Book of Knowledge - Grolier Publishing, 1933-1935, A-Section

 



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