All of the 20 armadillo species known to people live in the Western Hemisphere, but only nine-banded armadillo can be found in the United States. The other 19 species of dillos reside in Latin America or Central America. Each type of armadillos has its unique mating rituals and mating habits. However, there are still some mating habits that are common to all armadillos. Let’s find out here about armadillo’s mating habits, when do they get their babies and how do they raise them
Before armadillos can start raising their babies, they need to indulge in mating in order to produce a litter of armadillo young. Almost all types of armadillos get involved in some type of a courtship ritual before they start to mate, but these pre-mating rituals vary between armadillo species. For the majority of armadillo species, regardless of where their whereabouts are, breeding season lasts from April to June. During these months the female armadillos will mate with no more than two males and males will mate with no more than three females. The gestation period of an armadillo ranges from two months in large hairy armadillos to 120 days in giant armadillos and nine-banded armadillos. Some types of armadillos can postpone the implantation of the embryo for up to two years, and thereby delay pregnancy. Mating is the only part that armadillo males will take part in the raising of their babies.
Female armadillos always raise their babies in burrows that they dig using front claws that are large and shovel-like. While armadillos spend their time and sleep in the same burrows throughout the whole year, they are extra cautious in choosing burrows in which they will nest. A nesting burrow should be secure and safe for the purpose of keeping the young armadillos from harm. Mother six-banded armadillos will pick up their babies and move them to another location if they feel their babies are unsafe.
When their gestation period comes to an end, female armadillos will give birth to up to 12 young, depending on their type, but usually they will give birth to one to three armadillos. Nine-banded armadillos will always give birth to four babies who are always identical because they have developed from the same egg. Newborns of some armadillo types are more developed than others armadillo babies. For example, the babies of giant armadillos are born blind while nine-banded armadillo babies are born with the so-called rudimentary dorsal armor. However, all armadillo babies need constant care from their armadillo moms.
Once the baby armadillos are ready, the momma armadillo will allow them to get out of the nesting burrow with her and start foraging for food. The age at which this will happen varies among armadillo types. Nine-banded armadillos usually leave their nest after three weeks.
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