Texas designated the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) as the official state small mammal in 1995. A distant cousin of the sloth and the anteater, the nine-banded armadillo is the only species that occurs in North America. A bony, scaled shell protects the armadillo from predators. Originally native to South America, the nine-banded armadillo now ranges as far north as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Louisiana. The other twenty or so armadillo species remain in Central and South America.