One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A nocturnal omnivorous mammal that has large claws for digging and a body covered in bony plates. Armadillos are native to the south central US and Central and South America.
Family Dasypodidae, order Xenarthra (or Edentata): several genera and species, including the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), which has spread into the southern US
- ‘Every time he came up to our place for a visit, all I would hear was ‘my armadillo this’ and ‘my armadillo that.’’
- ‘The sloths and armadillos are rather odd mammals characteristic of South America.’
- ‘The placental mammals include such diverse forms as whales, bats, elephants, shrews, and armadillos.’
- ‘Accessible only by boat, the island provides a natural habitat for a diverse community of wildlife including alligators, fallow deer, dolphins, river otters, and armadillos.’
- ‘Anteaters, pangolins, and some armadillos use hook-and-pull digging with the enlarged claw of a single, enlarged manual digit to open termite or ant nests made of hard dirt.’
- ‘Peccaries, tapirs, anteaters, armadillos, sloths, coatis, and others are around but hard to see.’
- ‘In South America, a group known as the Xenarthrans developed, today represented by the anteaters, sloths and armadillos.’
- ‘The island is a natural habitat for abundant wildlife, with alligators (look for them lazing in the sun in Myrtle Pond), fallow deer, river otter, and armadillos.’
- ‘The land bridge allowed the South American armadillo, porcupine, opossum, and ground sloths to colonize the north, as well as the unique South American notoungulates.’
- ‘Living xenarthrans are represented by three morphologically distinct lineages: armored armadillos, toothless anteaters, and phyllophagous tree-sloths.’
- ‘As floodwaters turned hilltops into islands, a key group of animals - predators such as jaguars, harpy eagles, and armadillos - disappeared from the islands.’
- ‘The living armadillos of South America bore a striking resemblance to fossil glyptodonts, extinct armored mammals whose fossils occurred in the same area.’
- ‘In Florida's Marion County, Interstate 75 cuts right through a state-long swath of greenway that's habitat for bobcats, opossums, and armadillos.’
- ‘South America was also home to living species of armadillos and sloths.’
- ‘The armadillo, ground sloth, opposums, and phorusrhacid birds were among the animals that migrated North from South America.’
- ‘While drifting down the river, it is not uncommon to see all types of wildlife like goats, deer, armadillos, foxes and even a rare glimpse of a Bald Eagle.’
- ‘Raccoons, bob cats and armadillos roam the land and gentle manatees (sea cows) swim in the waters of the Indian River.’
- ‘‘Some looked like reptilian armadillos or cats, and others looked like little dinosaurs,’ Nesbitt said.’
- ‘Originally known only from central and southern Texas, 9-banded armadillos have recently been found as far north as Nebraska.’
- ‘Several groups of xenarthrans successfully crossed the Central American land bridge to North America when it formed in the Pliocene; these included a number of kinds of ground sloths and armadillos.’
Late 16th century: from Spanish, diminutive of armado ‘armed man’, from Latin armatus, past participle of armare ‘to arm’.
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