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Order Description


Order Description

The Order Xenarthra includes armadillos, anteaters, and sloths. Although these mammals may seem very different on the outside, they have several similarities in their skeletons. Animals in this order either have no teeth, or have a reduced number of teeth. They all lack incisors and canines. Those species that have teeth only have simple molars. There are three families with 29 species world-wide, but only one species is found in the southeastern United States.

Family Dasypodidae

This family includes 20 species of armadillos. They all have a long snout with peg-like molar and pre-molar teeth, small eyes, and large ears. Their body is heavy, with short legs and a long tail. They have bony scutes that form a hard shell-like covering over their body. They have strong recurved claws that they use to dig burrows and food. The single species found in the southeastern United States was introduced into Florida in the 1900s and has since expanded its range northward into Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Species in this family:
    Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)