Armadillo Facts You’ll Never Forget

One of the best armadillo facts is that nine-banded armadillos are almost visually impaired, have a hard time hearing, and depend on their sharp sense of smell

The Chlamyphorus truncatus (pink fairy armadillo) has one of the most unmistakable components: a flaky-looking shell that gives defensive layer-like protection against hunters. This shield covers a large portion of their head and body, and at times their legs too. Regardless of the well-known myth, just one species of armadillo, the three-banded armadillo, can fold into a ball! Different species of armadillo, like the Chaetophractus vellerosus (screaming hairy armadillo), delve into the ground (burrows) with their sharp front claws to shield themselves from harm when at risk from a predator instead.

After a gestation period of just two to five months, young armadillos are born. At the start, their skin is delicate and helpless. However, they build up their defensive armor shell plates over their first few weeks. They are weaned after two to four months of life and within a year, they complete their full mature development and are prepared to wander out all alone in the wildlife.

For more animal facts, check out our articles on the leopard seal or fennec fox.


Fact File

What do they prey on?

Plants, larvae, and invertebrates

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

9–66 lb (4–30 kg)

How long are they?

14–30 in (36–75 cm)

How tall are they?

7.9–20 in (20–50 cm)

What do they look like?

Brown or plain gray, pink, black

Skin Type

Boney plates

What are their main threats?

Habitat loss, predators, and large hawks

What is their conservation status?

Vulnerable (giant armadillo)

Where you'll find them

Rainforests, wetlands, grasslands, and semi-desert regions


Central America and South America





Scientific Name

Priodontes maximus





Armadillo Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an armadillo?

Armadillos are solitary living mammals that wear an armor shell. Closely associated with anteaters and sloths, armadillos typically have a sharp or shovel-shaped snout and little eyes. Armadillos vary widely in size and color, from the 6 in (15 cm) long pink fairy armadillo to the 5 ft (152 cm) long, brownish giant armadillo found in South America.

What class of animal does an armadillo belong to?

The nine-banded armadillo belongs to the class Mammalia.

How many armadillos are there in the world?

The exact population of the nine-banded armadillo is tough to estimate because the nine-banded armadillo population is not officially recorded. However, we do know that the three-banded armadillo is sadly currently under the threat of extinction.

Where does an armadillo live?

Armadillos are pretty much endemic to Central America and South America. The only exception to this is the nine-banded species, which is also found in the United States. They are completely missing from Africa, the Eurasian supercontinent, and the Australian islands.

What is an armadillo's habitat?

Armadillos live in meadows, rainforests, wetlands, and semi-desert locales of the Americas. These environments have large sandy areas and lots of soft soil for simple burrowing and unearthing. In view of their assorted diet, these animals are fit to live in a variety of biological systems and natural surroundings.

Who do armadillos live with?

Armadillos are most often found living alone, in pairs, or in little gatherings in South America. Quick to rise out of their tunnels in the evenings, these productive diggers utilize their sharp sense of smell to find food.

How long does an armadillo live?

Depending upon the species, armadillos tend to have a life expectancy between 4 and 30 years. In captivity, they have been known to live considerably longer.

How do they reproduce?

An armadillo's breeding season differs by species. A few armadillos can breed all year, while others can do it during certain seasons only. Males depend on their sense of smell to find a mate and, unlike other warm-blooded animals of comparable size, armadillos are actually really productive reproducers. Females can defer implantation of the egg until they have an ample food store available. Seven banded armadillos can deliver somewhere in the range of eight to 15 identical pups at a time. The nine-banded armadillo can produce four pups and these pups are incubate in armadillo eggs before they hatch and enter the world.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of armadillos varies with different species, for example, according to the IUCN, giant armadillos are listed as Vulnerable.

Armadillo Fun Facts

What do armadillos look like?

Nine-banded armadillos look like heavily clad opossums with sharp paws, a long tail, a sharp nose, short legs, and large ears. These animals are known for their somewhat plain, dim, and earthy colored appearance, but a few armadillos have pink, red, or even yellow shading. They similarly vary in size depending on their species.

The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) rolls up into a protective ball and its armor is hard enough to save it from most predators.

How cute are they?

While nine-banded armadillos are fascinating to a few, not everybody loves them. In their own way, we think they are quite cute!

How do they communicate?

Nine-banded armadillos communicate mostly through sound. They are almost completely blind, so they really rely on their sense of smell.

How big is an armadillo?

The species of nine-banded armadillos are 14-30 in (36-75 cm) long and 7.9-20 in (20-50 cm) tall. The giant armadillo species is 10 times bigger than a mouse!

How fast can an armadillo move?

An armadillo can travel at surprisingly fast speeds of up to 30 mph (48 kmph).

How much does an armadillo weigh?

The screaming hairy armadillo and three-banded armadillos have a similar weight range of 9-66 lb (4-30 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no different names for male and female armadillos.

What would you call a baby armadillo?

Baby armadillos are called a pup. At the start of their lives, pups mostly stay inside their burrows to avoid predators until they can be fully protected by their armor.

What do they eat?

The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)'s diet includes an almost endless search for food. They spend the majority of the day scavenging for invertebrates and hatchlings. Different sources of food in their diet include natural products, vegetation, eggs, small reptiles, and carcasses of dead animals.

Are they dangerous?

Whilst not a naturally aggressive creature, it is important to treat these wild animals with caution as they can be unpredictable. Their sharp claws and strong legs can be dangerous if used in an attack.

Would they make a good pet?

Armadillos are delicate and modest animals who mainly choose to stay away from humans. For that reason, they do not make good pets and if on the off chance you come across an armadillo, it is a good idea to let them be on their way.

Did you know...

One species, the nine-banded Armadillo, cannot withstand a low body temperature. This shows that these animals are closely related to amphibians as they also cannot stay in cold temperatures for long.

The word 'armadillo' means 'little armored one' in Spanish.

Armadillos have amazingly adaptable social plans that can change upon different circumstances. More often than not, they appreciate being alone and are not particularly friendly, particularly when they come out around evening time to chase and scavenge for food. Yet, they will gather together for a few distinct reasons. The main justification for meeting up is to find a mate for the breeding season and sometimes to keep predators at bay. They will also regularly cluster together in their tunnels to keep warm during periods of cold weather.

Can an armadillo hurt you?

Armadillos present next to no danger to people, yet they are sometimes carriers of disease, and therefore you should avoid touching or interacting with them.

What are some fun facts about armadillos?

The defensive shell of the nine-banded Armadillo is made of scales known as 'scutes'. These scales are produced using keratin, as found in human hair and nails.

The diet of the armadillo species mostly includes a range of insects, including ants and termites.

The name of armadillos is derived from the Spanish language. It means 'little armored one' in Spanish.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the tamandua, or plains zebra.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our armadillo coloring pages.



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