Myth: Armadillos Can Roll Into a Ball for Defense
Fact: While the image of a rolled-up armadillo is widespread, it's a myth that they can fully encase themselves in their shells. Only a couple of species are capable of performing this feat, and the only armadillo present in the United States, the nine-banded armadillo, is unable to fully roll into a ball. This species tends to jump straight into the air when frightened, which sadly makes collisions with automobiles more common.
Myth: Armadillos Always Carry Leprosy
Fact: There's a persistent myth that armadillos are major vectors of leprosy infection. While it's true that some armadillos can harbor the bacteria that causes leprosy, transmission to humans is exceedingly rare. Instances of leprosy linked to armadillos are sporadic and typically involve direct contact with the animal or consumption of armadillo meat.
Myth: Armadillos Are Blind
Fact: The myth that armadillos are blind is only partially accurate. While their vision is not their strongest sense, armadillos do have eyes and can see. However, they heavily rely on their acute sense of smell and hearing to navigate their surroundings.
Myth: Armadillos Are Slow-Moving
Fact: While armadillos may appear slow and deliberate, they can pick up speed when needed. Their robust hind legs allow them to move surprisingly fast, and they can cover considerable ground when escaping predators or foraging. The nine-banded armadillo can even jump up to four feet in the air. Given their body-length, this is comparable to a human jumping over nine feet into the air.
Myth: Armadillos Always Burrow
Fact: Armadillos are skilled burrowers, but it's a myth that they spend all their time underground. They also use existing burrows for shelter and may create shallow scrapes for resting. Armadillos are adaptable and can occupy a range of habitats.
Myth: Armadillos Are Rodents
Fact: Despite their similar appearance, armadillos are not rodents. They belong to the order Cingulata and share ancestry with anteaters and sloths. The distinction lies in the unique structure of their armored shells.
Myth: Armadillos Can Transmit Rabies Easily
Fact: While armadillos can contract rabies, they are not significant carriers of the disease. Instances of armadillos transmitting rabies to humans are extremely rare. It is still important to exercise caution and avoid direct contact with wild animals. Always call professionals instead of handling armadillos yourself, it's what we're here for.