STATUS: Not native, “Least Concern”
DESCRIPTION: These animals weigh between 5 and 14 pounds and can reach 5 to 23 inches long. They have a shell made of tissues called “scutes,” which are essentially hard cartilage.
DIET: Insects, including ants, termites, and other small invertebrates.
HABITAT: Grassland and dry scrub. It struggles in cold or dry environments because of its high surface area that is not well insulated by fat, but is otherwise a generalist.
NOTES: IT can jump 3-4 feet in the air. It is solitary and mainly nocturnal. It is originally native to South and Central America, though it was introduced to North America in the 19th century. It has few natural predators in the US and has a high reproductive rate. It cannot roll into a ball but can float across rivers by filling its intestines with air. It can hold its breath for up to 6 minutes.
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons