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The biological development of the armadillo has meant that they are creatures that have a particularly strong ability to dig and to burrow, but the question about why this ability has developed is one that is often discussed. With strong front claws and weaker hind legs, the armadillo is much better at digging than it is at climbing, and it has also adapted to a diet that is largely made up of creatures that are to be found underground. It is the natural instinct of the armadillo to dig, and there are several reasons why the armadillo will use this evolutionary trait.
Creating A Burrow
A vital reason that armadillos have learned to dig is so that they will have an area where they can live, shelter, mate and sleep, and being able to dig a burrow is vital for these creatures who will often have several burrows across their territory. While they may occasionally occupy the burrows of other animals, generally armadillos like to dig their own spaces to sleep, and will usually prefer to have a relatively shallow burrow. This behavior is one that can cause problems if they start digging beneath buildings, as in some cases they have been known to undermine the foundations.
Digging For Food
Armadillos are insectivores, and they have a very good sense of smell and sound, and this allows them to be particularly efficient hunters of animals and insects that live below the surface. Indeed, one of the best hunting tactics used by armadillos is to dig several shallow holes where the insects are, and then to eat them before they can dig their way to escape the animal. This particular approach to hunting is one that can be particularly frustrating to those people who have a handsome lawn in their garden, as an armadillo can easily leave tens of holes on the lawn in just one visit.
Digging To Provide A Method Of Protection
Another reason that armadillos tend to dig is so that they can protect themselves if they come under attack from a predator. In most cases, predators will avoid armadillos because they are so difficult to kill and eat, but one of their self defense mechanisms is to dig a shallow trench and then to hunker down beneath their carapace. Their naturally low center of gravity becomes even lower, and it is very difficult to roll the animal over or to break through its defenses in this position.
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