AN AMAZING FACT: Armadillos are among the strangest of God’s creatures. Like their cousins, the anteaters, armadillos have a very long, sticky tongue to slurp up bugs as quickly as possible. They are also equipped with strong claws to tear open ant nests and to dig a burrow 15 feet long in which to bear their young. Unlike other mammals, the female armadillo always bears four young, which are always the same sex. Some female armadillos have been known to give birth up to two years after they were captured! These “virgin births” are a result of the female’s amazing ability to delay implantation of the fertilized egg.
Armadillos are good swimmers, but because their heavy shell makes them sink they must swallow air to become more buoyant. If necessary, they can hold their breath for up to six minutes, and can even travel underwater, walking along the bottom of streams and ponds like a lobster.
The nine-banded armadillo is 29 to 36 inches long including the tail; it usually weighs 8 to 17 pounds. Armadillos make timid pets, partly because they sleep an average of 18 hours per day and only come out at twilight or when it’s very cloudy because their eyes are sensitive to light. But some still say they can be housebroken and make good pets.
Generally, armadillos struggle in their coexistence with man. The greatest cause of death is automobiles. But most armadillos seen dead on the road weren’t hit by the wheels. They have a habit of jumping straight up into the air when they are frightened. This increases their mortality rate on the road. Unfortunately, armadillos are also ideal creatures for many types of medical research. Their low body temperature causes them to have a very weak immune system. Because of this trait they are used in leprosy research because they are the only animal besides humans that can get leprosy. In fact, some people have been known to contract leprosy from eating armadillos.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons the Bible says we shouldn’t eat unclean animals. Many people mistakenly believe that Jesus abolished the health laws, but they were given for a purpose. There is a solid scientific basis behind each of these laws. God, who gave us life, wants to protect our health.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. Leviticus 11:4