Armadillos from Costa Rica
Armadillos are found all north to south in what is considered the New World. One species found in Costa Rica covers a large swath of territory from the US to South America.
Of the two species of Costa Rica mentioned below, the Nine Banded Armadillo is found from the northern Midwest Plains of the United States to the north of Argentina. The other being the Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo is specific to Central America and parts of Colombia. Armadillos can be found in many places in Costa Rica including Guanacaste National Park, Braulio Carrillo National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Tenorio and Miravalles Volcano National Park and many more.
Mating & Reproduction
In the northern hemisphere, mating occurs between the months of August and July for Nine Banded Armadillos. These armadillos will produce one fertilized egg which produces four genetically identical armadillos. This is referred to as polyembryony, and it occurs in only a few other animal species. Female Nine Banded Armadillos keep the egg for four months after the zygote has formed, and the young stay in her care another six months to a year. They are born blind, deaf and bald.
Not much is known about the Naked-tailed Armadillos mating and reproduction, because they spend much of their time underground. They do produce one egg, and the babies are born blind, deaf and hairless, also.
Many armadillos are perceived as a solitary bunch with activities such as burrowing and being nocturnal. They are primarily insectivores, but will supplement their diets with small amphibians, reptiles, baby mammals and eggs. They will seldom forage for fruits, seeds, fungi and tubers. When trying to get into an ant or termite colony they will dig out certain parts of the nest, and then roll on the ground to smash the soldiers.
Armadillos are preyed upon by raptors, caimans, crocodiles and felids such as the Margay, Ocelot or Jaguar in Costa Rica. There burrowing and nocturnal foraging habits are defense mechanisms, and they also have an incredible sense of smell which helps them to avoid predators.
Armadillos in general, but especially Nine Banded Armadillos, are studied for a few different reasons. The Nine Banded Armadillo is interesting from the standpoint of its regularly producing quadruplets. It is also a carrier of leprosy, which it probably inherited from humans, and has been useful in determining the genetic background of the bacteria responsible for leprosy and its effects.
Where to see it in Costa Rica: Costa Rica including Guanacaste National Park, Braulio Carrillo National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Tenorio and Miravalles Volcano National Park
Diet: insects, small reptiles, small amphibians, eggs, fruit, seeds, fungi, tubers
Migration Pattern: non-migratory
Species: Dasypus novemcinctus & Cabassous centralis