Describe armadillo skin/armor, and how it helps the animal
An armadillo is a small to medium sized mammal. The smallest species is pink fairy armadillos, which are the size of a chipmunk and can weigh only 85 kg. A giant armadillo is the size of a small pig and it can weigh up to 54 kg. They are known as prolific diggers and they have sharp claws that are used to dig for food and to dig their homes.
They have armor which is formed with dermal bones and plates. They are covered in overlapping and small epidermal scales known as scutes, and they are composed of bone and the covering hone. The species have rigid shields on the shoulders to the hips, and their bands are separated by flexible skin that covers the flanks and the back. The armor also covers the top of the head together with the upper parts of the limbs up to the tail.
This skin of the armadillos that looks like armor is their main defense. Sometimes they may escape the predators through entering into thorny patches while their armor is protecting them. Some may dig deep holes to reach safety. The three banded armadillo found in South Africa relies heavily on the armor. If it is threatened, it will roll up into a ball. Some species are not able to roll up because they have many plates.
When threatened, the armadillo covers itself on the top and starts to dig under itself to hide into the ground. This prevents it from getting flipped over or being vulnerable to predators. The armadillos like to live in their solitude so that they may avoid dangerous situations.
The bands of the shell of armadillos are used to identify them. There are more than 20 species and they are all identified based on how many bands they have. These bands overlap one over the other and they form the shell which is flexible. This is the flexibility that makes it easy for the armadillo to curl up when it is in danger. The skin between each band is soft and is able to contract or expand.
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