Armadillo Breeding

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   Except for the nine-banded armadillos, breeding habits are not well known. Male armadillos mark their way home range with urine, in much the same way as a domestic dog or cat. This habit was responsible for the deaths of severalbaby.jpg (9726 bytes) armadillos in early zoo collections. Whenever the cage was cleaned a male armadillo would re-mark his territory, carrying it out with such thoroughness that he would die of dehydration.

   The nine-banded armadillo has sex in July and August. Usually how this is done, is the female lies on her back. A single egg is fertilized and then lies free in the uterus for a period of time before becoming embedded in the uterine wall when development can continue. This process, in which development of the embryo does not take place immediately, is called delayed implantation. Gestation takes 120 days.

   1 - 4 young are born each year, depending on the species. In the nine-banded armadillos there are four in a litter and they are always identical, in sex as well as armadillo5.jpg (8983 bytes)other characters. These are identical quads, all of them springing from a single egg and all attached by umbilical cords to a single placenta. This is the area of the uterine wall specialized for transferring food, etc. between the blood of the mother and that of the embryos. In other mammals such multiple births are accidental, and rare, but it is the rule in this armadillo.

   The young are born with a soft leathery skin which hardens after a few days.

 


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