This little fellow is a case in point. Looking like a cross between an anteater and an armored tank, the Armadillo is an ingeniously clothed little critter and is the only modern mammal with a shell. Since I’ve had him show up for a couple of people lately, I thought I’d take some time today to share his message.
What is the Spirit Meaning of Armadillo?
Armadillos are found exclusively in the New World, and there are about 20 species of them. I’m going to focus here primarily on the 9-Banded Armadillo, which is the only one that ranges into the United States. However, if Armadillo comes into your life you may want to look up the particular species you are dealing with. Studying its specific behaviors and characteristics – which may differ a bit from those of the 9-Banded type – may help you discover its message to you. (Also be aware that many of the Armadillo species are named after the number of armored bands at their waist. If your armadillo is one of these, you may also want to delve into numerology and/or angel numbers as well.)
If there ever was a spirit animal that resonates with the Root chakra, Armadillo is it. Root chakra energy is all about grounding, safety, and security. With its portable armor and its ground-dwelling habits, this burrowing creature is definitely a security-oriented animal. Some species can actually curl up into a ball. Others will press themselves into the ground when threatened, protecting their soft, vulnerable underbellies. On the other hand, Armadillos are fast runners (up to 30 miles per hour!) and will also sometimes jump several feet straight up into the air when startled. This can be a super effective strategy when they are faced with a coyote or dog, but unfortunately often backfires when it comes to cars, earning them the nickname “Texas speed bumps.”
Armadillos eat mostly insects, especially soil-dwelling ants, grubs, and termites. Like their relatives the anteaters, armadillos have sticky tongues which they use to collect their insect prey. They are one of the few animals that can comfortably feed on fire ants, which can’t penetrate their thick armor.
When Armadillo shows up for a person it often points to issues with security and feeling safe. When out of balance, this can include the tendency to withdraw or curl up into one’s “shell.” It can also manifest as jumpiness or flightiness – the instinctive tendency to react without thinking to perceived danger, sometimes with disastrous results. Grounding exercises can help restore a sense of inner security and balance Armadillo energy. Healthy Armadillo energy manifests as the ability to stay super calm and level-headed even through situations that would “bug” other people.
The Armadillo is a warm-climate animal. It doesn’t have the fat stores or ability to hibernate that would allow it to thrive in cold weather. However, within limits it does overcome these shortcomings by altering its behavior according to its surroundings. During hot spells, it tends to be nocturnal. When the weather turns chilly, it will switch to more diurnal habits. On cool nights, this typically solitary animal will sometimes invite others into its burrow as well, huddling together for mutual warmth. This – along with their armor – points to Flexibility being one of the lessons Armadillo is associated with. Armadillo people can easily show signs of being hard-headed and inflexible. However, they may surprise you at times by their ability to adapt, especially in the face of hardship.
One interesting thing about Armadillo is its tactics for crossing water. They don’t swim in the normal sense of the word. Often, they will hold their breath – which they can do for up to six minutes – and walk along the bottom. However, some species also have the ability to super-inflate their stomach and intestines with air, turning the animal into sort of a living inflatable raft. Armadillo teaches us to discern when to plod methodically through a situation according to a set path or plan, and when to simply go with the flow.
If Armadillo calls to you, start observing your own behavior. When is it advantageous to be unyielding? When would it best serve you and others to be flexible and accommodating?
Armadillos have poor eyesight, but an excellent sense of smell. Many also sport long, stiff hairs that protrude around their armor and which function rather like whiskers, helping them feel their way around. If Armadillo is your totem, you likely have a strong sense of intuition, and can probably smell out danger and/or opportunity a mile away. However you might not be particularly visionary, unless you also work with more celestial spirit guides such as any of the raptors, or angels.
Nine-banded armadillos have some very unusual reproductive habits. Like bears, they are capable of delayed implantation – meaning they can carry the fertilized egg around for months before the embryo actually starts to develop. A female nine-banded armadillo always gives birth to a litter of four offspring, and they are always genetically identical quadruplets. Armadillo energy thus can lend support to creative projects in which a high degree of consistency must be maintained. However it may be necessary to wait until conditions are right before starting such a project.
Finally, one more interesting fact about armadillos. They can actually be carriers for leprosy! Since leprosy is an old world disease, they undoubtedly picked it up at some point from us humans. Leprosy is a bacterial disease that results in loss of sensation, which ultimately can lead to loss of extremities because there is no pain to tell a person that what they are doing is harmful. Spiritually, this can correlate to the tendency to suppress emotional pain,which can lead to isolating oneself in some way – whether from parts of oneself, from healthy relationships, etc. Self-loathing, ostracism, and shunning of some sort may become part of the picture as well. If Armadillo is part of your spiritual team, watch for this pattern – and know that this is not something native to you. There is nothing innately unlovable about YOU!!! (Just look at that cute little Armadillo – he is adorable, isn’t he???) 🙂 (If this kind of pattern persists, though, I would encourage you to consider embarking on Heart chakra work.)
Hope you’ve enjoyed this. If there’s an animal you’re curious about let me know. When I get poked enough to write up a particular animal I will eventually do it! 😉