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