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Not a single mammal in the state of Missouri even comes close to looking like this. There is hair only in the tiny crevices between the stiff plates of skin that cover practically the entire body. Its skin is smooth and velvety smooth. Nine smaller, adjustable "bands" or "girdles" encircle the two big plates. Plates cover the body, including the stubby limbs, tail, and head. Each of the toes has a sharp claw. The shades of brown and yellowish white make up the majority of the color spectrum.
The armadillo's hard shell serves as a protective barrier; it is actually a reworked version of its skin. Common defense mechanisms for armadillos include running away, digging, and pressing their bodies into the earth.
Only the three-banded armadillo can roll into a ball for defense, and its unique teardrop-shaped skull plate seals the opening to make the armor completely impenetrable.
Armadillos face danger from many sources, including canine companions, feline predators, avian predators, and humans. When threatened, they may huddle together tightly. They're shaped like a ball of scales, making them extremely difficult to open with your bare hands. A few people fired shots at an armadillo, but all it did was bounce back.
Armadillos are excellent swimmers, but their hefty shells require them to constantly take a breath of air in order to remain afloat. Once in a while, they can hold their breath for up to six minutes, making it possible for them to walk across the riverbed or lakebed. Armadillos can be deterred by clearing away any overgrown vegetation or rubbish from around your home. Yet, brushy areas are often surprisingly productive homes for songbirds and other species.
Armadillos will often retreat into their burrows or into thorny vegetation when they detect danger, where they will be protected by their armor and discouraged from pursuing. When startled, certain species have been observed to leap as high as four feet into the air. Armadillos eat insects that live in the soil, so when those insects go, the armadillos have to hunt elsewhere for sustenance. It would be difficult and maybe harmful to native plants and other life if all insects, worms, and grubs were eradicated from the soil and plants.
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