How did the Armadillo get to the U.S.?

A Houston armadillo is a member of the superorder- Xenarthra. This includes sloths, anteaters, and all types of armadillos. They first originated in South America. Armadillos are one of many mammals that migrated into North America across Panamanian land bridge when it first formed, about 3 million years ago. Giant ground sloths and anteaters also, migrated into the open plains of North America. All of these were extinct by about 10,000 years ago. The armadillo was the last member of the genus Dasypus to live in North America. Its territory ranged as far north as Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska prior to its extinction around 11,000 years ago. For several thousand years, there were no armadillos in the present-day United States. The majority of the species continues to be limited to South and Central America even to this day.

The nine-banded armadillo is currently the only type living in the United States. It has the widest range of distribution of any armadillo species. There are Only two armadillo species left that even occur outside of South America — the nine-banded armadillo ( now native to the U.S.) And the northern naked-tailed armadillo which is found in Central America up to the extreme southern boundary of Mexico. The nine-banded armadillo has expanded its territory northward into the United States just over the last 150 years. Before 1850, the nine-banded armadillo stayed exclusively south of the Rio Grande River. Then there was a sudden and inexplicable Texas armadillo invasion of the southern United States.

This rapid migration has puzzled biologists over the decades, but they have ideas. The Houston armadillo’s unstoppable invasion of the U. S. Is probably due to a combination of factors. More agricultural areas, particularly in the southern states, large undeveloped forests, and unsuitable climate have probably contributed to the migration of armadillos in the US since 1850. Houston armadillos have been expanding their area at a rate of nearly ten times faster than the average of most mammals Armadillos farther north every year, leaving us to wonder just how far north the armadillo will go.

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