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My six-banded armadillo skull (Updated)


UPDATED: It is a six banded armadillo, not a nine-banded one which is what I originally wrote !

Earlier this year I got a surprise parcel from someone who read my blog called Ben Williams. It was full of amazing skulls from other countries and I wrote about it in four posts here, here, here and here. After I got the parcel he sent me one more surprise skull which he got from one of his friends. It's a really interesting skull that I wouldn't have found myself. It is an armadillo skull. There are twenty types of armadillo, and this one is a nine-banded six banded armadillo because it has a long snout. This type of armadillo comes from North, South and Central America South America and they are so many of them they can be considered a pest.

 It has nine teeth and ten on the bottom jaw, and the teeth all look the same which is round with a point in the middle. (Will's Skull Page says that they are members of Edentata, which means toothless, but scientists have stopped using this group since then.) The teeth aren't as shiny as teeth in other skulls, because they don't have enamel on them. There aren't any incisors, canines or molars. In my skull, 12 of the 38 teeth have fallen out. They eat grubs, beetles, ants, termites and worms.

It has a long snout and the nose points down. The bone doesn't go the whole way round the eye. It is about 11.5cm long. The back of the skull is broken. I don't know how it happened but maybe it got dropped. You can see where someone tried to glue it back together.

 There is a piece missing near the left ear and the bit where the spine goes in.

When they are looking for food they dig in the ground and this makes holes that other animals live in, like rattlesnakes, skunks and burrowing owls.

The most interesting thing about armadillos is that they are covered in armour to stop other animals eating them, and look a bit like a tortoise. "Armadillo" means "little armoured one" in Spanish and the Aztecs called them "turtle-rabbits". Sometimes you see the skull with the armoured skin as well, like on this page.

This was great gift and I enjoyed finding out about armadillos.

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Anonymous said...

I have an armadillo skull of my own. It has the tip of the nose missing, but is otherwise fine. It's a bit longer and thinner than yours, so maybe a different species? It must be from a young one because the growth plates aren't properly fused. In fact, one of them fell off when I picked it up, so you can see right inside the skull! Turtle-rabbit is a good name for an armadillo. They run like rabbits if you scare them.

Dallas Krentzel said...

Hey Jake, you have a really great site here! I started collecting skulls when I was younger and now I'm currently entering into an evolutionary biology Ph.D. program, so I encourage you to keep it up, it's certainly helped give me an appreciation for nature and science.

In regards to this post, you actually don't have a nine-banded armadillo here. I'm not 100% certain which species you have, but it looks an awful lot like the six-banded armadillo, or Euphractus sexcinctus. Check out the photos at Animal Diversity Web (which is a really great website for familiarizing yourself with different skulls): http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/specimens/Euphractus_sexcinctus.html

You can compare with the actual nine-banded armadillo here: http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/specimens/Dasypodinae.html I actually have a nine-banded skull and full skeleton, as they're quite common here in Louisiana, as you mentioned. You should be glad you have an Euphractus, because those are much harder to come by!

Jake said...

I think you might be right ! I will have a look in the week at it again. Thank you !

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