23 January 2011

Urban Armadillo, University of North Florida Nature Trail

The name Armadillo is derived from Spanish, meaning something like 'little armor'.

Armadillos, Dasypus novemcinctus, are placental mammals and are found mainly across South and North America.  Some species can grow up to 5' (1.5 M) and weigh up to 150 lbs (70 Kg).

Armadillos forage at primarily at night and population numbers are rising in the Urban Core.  The small animal can dig up lawns, gardens and flower beds in search of prey - usually grub worms (beetle larvae).
Armadillo, by Ruairi Songer

Interestingly, Armadillos can jump up to two meters straight up into the air when frightened.  Additionally, they roll up tightly into a ball when threatened by predators - with only their armor showing.

Armadillos can hold their breath for considerable time because of their slow metabolisms and will usually walk across the bottom of a stream or pond to get to the other side rather than attempt swimming.

The photo here was taken on a nature trail in the University of North Florida's (UNF) Campus.  UNF is located near downtown Jacksonville, Florida and has a large part of the campus set aside for nature.

The palmate leaves are Red Mpale, Acer rubrum leaves.  The green needles belong to the bald cypress tree, Taxodium distichum.

Photo taken by Ruairi Songer, Canon EOS Rebel.

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