That ‘Little Armored Thing’ Doesn’t Get by on Looks Alone

It appears to be made out of spare parts, but the only mammal equipped with a carapace is actually a model of ecological efficiency

The armadillo appears to have been made out of spare parts, and its intelligence may be limited, but a unique physical makeup has given its family a high capacity for survival since it evolved in South America some 50 million years ago. The only mammal encased in a true shell, the armadillo has spread throughout the United States, bringing its current national population to 30 million to 50 million. Though some of them never make it across the road, a small number have found their way into the hearts of the few daring people who take up 'dillos as pets.

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