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No other Missouri mammal can be mistaken for this strange-looking creature. It lacks fuzzy skin and only has hair in the spaces between the rigid plates of skin that almost completely round the body. There are two substantial plates that are surrounded by nine smaller, movable "bands" or "girdles." Plates are present on the head, tail, and short legs. The claws on the toes are very strong. The colour ranges from dark brown to a yellowish white overall.
The hard shell of an armadillo is only a modified skin that it uses to protect itself. An armadillo often rushes away from a threat, digs, or presses its body into the ground to prevent being flipped over.
The only armadillo that can roll into a ball for protection is the three-banded kind; the teardrop-shaped skull plate on this species seals the opening to ensure that the armour is impenetrable.
Among the dangers to armadillos are domestic dogs, wild cats, raptors, and people. When they feel threatened, they may ball up into a ball. They resemble a ball of scales and are almost impossible to open with bare hands as a result. A couple of people tried to shoot an armadillo, but it just bounced back.
Armadillos can swim well, but because of their hefty shell, they need to inhale air to give themselves buoyancy. In order to stroll across the bottom of a river or lake, they occasionally have the ability to hold their breath for up to 6 minutes. Armadillos may be deterred by clearing brushy and debris-filled areas from the vicinity of your property. However, songbirds and other species frequently find valuable habitats in brushy places.
Armadillos often flee into their burrows or into thorny vegetation when they sense danger so that their armour will protect them and prevent predators from pursuing them. Certain species will leap 3-4 feet into the air when startled. Because armadillos eat ground-dwelling insects, removing that source of food will frequently lead to their searching for food elsewhere. But getting rid of all insects, worms, and grubs from the soil and plants would be hard and might hurt the local plants and other living things.
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