Dasypodidae – Armadillos
Armadillos, ‘little armored ones’ in Spanish, are New world’s real-life armored Pokémons
It’s not difficult to recognize the members of this order, thanks to their unique and striking body armor. This keratinized armor is not entirely continuous but formed of bony plates joined together by three to nine flexible skin bands in-between; this allows them their characteristic curling maneuver for protection.
An entire sub-family of this order is now extinct – the Glyptodonts: giant, slow-moving, herbivore armadillos. They disappeared at the end of the last ice age and are believed to be hunted to extinction after the arrival of humans to the Americas.
With the alignment of their lucky evolutionary stars, they can swim as masterly as they can dig. Despite their poor eyesight, Armadillos dig deep through the nights in search of insects and build safe shelters from predators.
Genera in this family
Unable to roll into a complete ball like some other armadillos due to excessive dermal plates
Nicknamed “sand swimmer,” able to burrow through the soil as fast as a fish swimming in the water
Able to swim and will shallow air just before entering the water to assist with buoyancy
The largest living armadillo grows up to 1.5 m (5 ft) in length, yet it feeds on tiny termites!