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Many species of mammals in family Dasypodidae, order Cingulata, related to sloths and anteaters. Armadillos are characterized by their armor cladding, which allows them to escape into thorny brush, or curl into a ball when threatened. Mostly inhabiting Central and South America, in recent centuries due to an increase in global temperatures and lack of predators they have spread north into the United States. The nine-banded armadillo was first sighted in Texas in 1849, and by 2003, armadillos were sighted in Illinois. Omnivores, armadillos feed on roots, insects, worms, reptiles and carrion. Nearly all species are nocturnal, and all of them will burrow. Depending on species, full grown specimens will vary in size from 4 inches to over 4 feet in length.

Larry L. Smith; Robin W. Doughty. The Amazing Armadillo: Geography of a Folk Critter. University of Texas Press. 1984. 148pp.

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