NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Armadillos are creeping into more areas of Tennessee. They’re interesting creatures that unfortunately many only see when they become roadkill. Armadillos sleep around 16 hours a day in burrows, according to National Geographic.

Facts about armadillos

  1. Armadillo means “little armored one” in Spanish.
  2. The nine-banded armadillo is the only species known to live in the United States, mainly in south-central areas.
  3. The nine-banded armadillo can hold its breath for about six minutes allowing it to walk underwater for short distances.
  4. The nine-banded armadillo can also increase buoyancy by inflating its stomach and intestines by swallowing air.
  5. Only the three-banded (Tolypeutes) species of armadillo can roll up into a ball.
  6. The nine-banded armadillo jumps straight up when surprised or scared.
  7. The smallest type of armadillo is called the pink fairy armadillo, which is about six inches long – the size of chipmunk.
  8. The largest type of armadillo is called the giant armadillo, which is about five feet long – the size of a pig.
  9. The giant armadillo can have up to 100 teeth, according to the San Diego Zoo.
  10. The nine-banded armadillo always gives birth to quadruplets of the same sex.
  11. People do eat armadillo meat and some claim it tastes like pork.
  12. “Hoover Hogs” is one nickname for armadillos referring to President Hoover who many blamed for the great depression when people often ate them.
  13. Armadillos can carry leprosy and while the risk is extremely low of transference to humans, according to the CDC, it’s best to avoid handling or eating them.
  14. “Hillbilly Speed Bump” another nickname for armadillos because of their tendency to get ran over.
  15. Armadillos have also been nicknamed “Tactical Possums” and “Pocket Dinosaurs.”
  16. The nine-banded armadillo is the official state animal of Texas.

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The nine-banded armadillo has only reached Tennessee in the last 30 years or so and continues to migrate from west to east, according to the TWRA.