Armadillo Facts: Your Armadillo Questions Answered

Where do Armadillos live?

According to The Integrated Taxonomic Information System, there are about 21 species of Armadillos. They can be identified by the number of armoured bands on their outer shell. All Armadillos, except for the nine banded Armadillo, live in Central and South America, as they do not have much fat stored in their body and require warmer weather conditions. However, the nine banded Armadillo migrates between Argentina and Southern United States. They have also been spotted in Florida, Central Illinois and Missouri. Armadillos sleep during the majority of the day, deeply buried in their burrows.

What do Armadillos eat?

Armadillos are omnivores, feeding on plants and meat. According to The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, they feed more on insects and larva. They also enjoy ants, termites, beetles, plants, eggs, small vertebrates.

Are Armadillos rodents?

Armadillos are not rodents, neither are they marsupial as some people wrongly assume. They are mammals and belong to the ‘Cingulata’ order, the ‘Xenathrans’ superorder and the ‘Dasypodidae’ family.

What is the meaning of Armadillo?

Armadillo is a Spanish word which means “little armoured one”. This refers to the bony plates or shells that cover their backs, head, leg and tail.

How many species of Armadillos are there?

There are about 21 species of Armadillos in existence. They originated in South America and are found in the Western Hemisphere. Only one specie has made its way into the United States; Texas, the Gulf Coast States and Missouri.

Is an armadillo nocturnal?

Armadillos are nocturnal. They stay underground during the day and forage at night.

What is a baby Armadillo called?

A baby Armadillo is called pup.

How many babies do Armadillos have?

Female Armadillos produce only one litter in a year. A single egg when fertilized produces four separate embryos, so a litter is equal to four identical quadruplets.

Are armadillo shells bulletproof?

The Armadillos hard shell, also called  carapace, is made up of bone and tough tissue. The armoured shell protects the Armadillo from harm and potential predators.

 Do Armadillos carry diseases?

More than half of Amazonian Armadillos are infected with leprosy, which is transmitted by a bacteria called ‘Mycobacterium leprae’. It can cause nerve damage and can be transmitted to humans by the nine banded armadillo.

There is yet to be proof as to whether these animals act as a natural reservoir for the disease transmission in Brazil,  since they have been reported to live in the Brazilian Amazon and serve as a source of protein. However the transmission of the bacterium via Armadillos to humans have been shown to occur in Southern United States.

How big do Armadillos get?

Armadillos weigh about 3 oz to 120 lbs. They size is widely varied from those that are 6 inches long to the six foot long giant Armadillo.

Can Armadillos see?

Armadillos have poor vision, but this is helped with their very sensitive sense of smell.

Can you keep an Armadillo as a pet?

Keeping an armadillo as a pet is actually illegal. A special permit is needed for it which is not issued to just anyone unless specialized organizations which are dedicated into taking care of such primitive animals. If you hold the Animal breeding license however, you can adopt an armadillo. Even at that, some countries have few animal protection laws or none at all

Can Armadillos swim?

Despite the weight of their shells, Armadillos do not sink in water. In fact, they swim fast across ponds and rivers and can hold their breath underwater for as long as six minutes. They have the ability to float on water by filling their lungs and stomach with water. Armadillos can also cross rivers and streams by swimming in a typical dog-paddle movement or walking on their bottom whilst holding their breath at the same time.

Can Armadillos climb?

Armadillos are not known to be tree climbers, however they are generally good climbers and can climb high fences.

Are armadillos edible?

 

Armadillo forms part of the diet in many areas of Central and South America. It is also a traditional diet  of the inhabitants of Oaxaca, Mexico. It is said to taste like fine-grained, good-quality pork, but it does also serve as a substitute for pork, beef and even chicken. However, it is a known fact that Armadillos transmit leprosy, which means that the meat should be cooked properly to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.

Armadillo Species

There are 21 species of Armadillo
SpeciesAmountLocationSize
(Head & Body Length)
Tail LengthWeight
Dasypus Novemcinctus/ Nine-banded ArmadilloSix speciesUSA, Peru, Uruguay, Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago240 — 573 mm (9.4 — 22.6 in)125 — 483 mm (4.9 — 19.0 in)1 — 10 kg (2.2 — 22.0 lbs)
Zaedyus Pichiy/ Pichi or Dwarf ArmadilloOne specieArgentina 260 — 335 mm (10.2 — 13.2 in)100 — 140 mm (3.9 — 5.5 in)1 — 2 kg (2.2 — 4.4 lbs)
Calyptophractus Retusus/ Greater Fairy Armadillo One specieBolivia, Paraguay and Argentina140 — 175 mm (5.5 — 6.9 in)35 mm (1.4 in)1 kg (2.20 lbs)
Chaetophractus Vellerosus/ Screaming Hairy ArmadilloThree speciesBolivia, Chile220 — 400 mm (8.7 — 15.7 in)90 — 175 mm (3.5 — 6.9 in)85 g — 1 kg (1.85 lbs)
Chlamyphorus Truncatus/ Pink Fairy Armadillo One specieCentral Argentina84 — 117 mm (3.3 — 4.6 in)27 — 35 mm (1.1 — 1.4 in)120 g (0.26 lbs)
Euphractus Sexcinctus/ Six-banded Armadillo One specieSurinam, The Andes, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay401 — 495 mm (15.8 — 19.5 in)119 — 241 mm (4.7 — 9.5 in)3.2 — 6.5 kg (7.1 — 14.3 lbs)
Cabassous Centralis/ Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo Four speciesBrazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina300 — 490 mm (11.8 — 19.3 in)90 — 200 mm (3.5 — 7.7 in)3.4 — 6.4 kg (7.5 — 14.1 lbs)
Priodontes Maximus/ Giant Armadillo One specieSouth America, Venezuela, Argentina75 — 100 cm (29.5 — 39.4 in)50 cm (19.7 in)60 kg (132 lbs) in captivity; 18.7 — 32.3 kg (41.2 — 71.2 lbs) in the wild
Tolypeutes Tricinctus/ Brazilian Three-banded Armadillo Two speciesBrazil218 — 273 mm (8.6 — 10.7 in)60 — 80 mm (2.4 — 3.1 in)1 — 1.59 kg (2.2 — 3.5 lbs)