Armadillo

Wild Status:

Least Concern

Scientific Name:

Euphractus sexcinctus

Distribution:

The Six Banded Armadillo can be found in the grasslands, open plains and rainforests of South America in and around Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.

Description: 

Six-Banded Armadillos are yellowish, tan or brown in colour, their heads are pointed and flattened with large plates arranged in a distinctive pattern. They have 6 - 8 movable bands on their body and they have well developed claws for digging.

All species of Armadillo, except the nine-banded armadillo are decreasing in numbers. As with many species, habitat loss is a major reason for decreasing numbers but humans affect the armadillo in other ways too. Many people consider them as pests and call exterminators to rid them from their gardens and farms. Armadillos are often run over by cars as the animal crosses the road looking for food or new habitat. They are also hunted for their meat and shells which are used to make novelties like purses, bags and baskets.

Feeding and habits:

Six-Banded Armadillos are omnivores and they feed on a variety of plant matter, insects, small vertebrates and carrion.

They can be found in different habitats, ranging from grassland to rainforest, but it is mainly found on open plains. They are solitary animals and unlike most species of armadillo, they are mainly diurnal, (active by day). They are terrestrial and when threatened they run to a nearby burrow or curl up as much as they can to protect their soft undersides. Six-Banded Armadillos sleep at night in shelters or dens underground. These burrows are dug by the armadillo using their powerful shovel-like claws.

Breeding and Life Expectancy:

Their young are born all year round and are very rapid developers, reaching maturity at 9 months old. Females give birth to 1 to 3 offspring, which can take solid food at a month old.

 

More Interesting Facts:

  • The Six Banded Armadillo is also known as the Yellow Armadillo.

  • The name comes from the Spanish “armado” which means “armoured”.

  • Armadillos are the only other species on the planet (along with humans) that can catch leprosy.

  • Armadillo shells are made up of true bone, covered in small scales called ‘scutes’ which are made of keratin. (Keratin is what finger nails and hair are made of).

  • Armadillos are closely related to sloths and anteaters.

  • The Six Banded Armadillo is a good swimmer.

  • They have very poor eyesight and use the sense of smell to locate their food.

© 2019 by Cleethorpes Jungle Zoo