The armadillo’s reproductive cycle is as unique as its physical appearance. Female armadillos have adaptations designed to help the species survive in hostile environments and avoid overpopulation when resources are scarce.
After mating, an act that typically occurs during the summer, the female armadillo has the ability to delay implantation of the fertilized egg. Typically, pregnancy does not begin for three to four months, allowing the young to arrive in the spring, when food is more plentiful. After implantation, the zygote splits into four genetically identical embryos, which gestate inside the mother for four months. Each develops its own placenta, helping to ensure that all four babies survive pregnancy and make it into the world. Once born, the four baby armadillos stay with the mother for six to eight months before venturing out into the world. A single female armadillo can produce up to 56 babies, in these groups of four, during the course of a lifetime.
Milton Kazmeyer has worked in the insurance, financial and manufacturing fields and also served as a federal contractor. He began his writing career in 2007 and now works full-time as a writer and transcriptionist. His primary fields of expertise include computers, astronomy, alternative energy sources and the environment.