Photo by Bob Gress
Total Length: 28-31 inches
Tail Length: 10-15 inches
Weight: 7-10 pounds
Nine-banded armadillos are oval-shaped, night foragers that "wear"
protective armor. Their immoveable front and rear upper "shields" are connected
by nine bands of moveable bony plates. Their head, with the exception of their rabbit-like
ears, outer legs and tail are also armored. Yellowish hair grows sparsely on their belly.
Strong claws are used for foraging and digging burrows. Their sensitive nose can detect
enemies and aid in foraging and burrowing. They have 28-36 undifferentiated peg-like
teeth. In March or April, females bear four identical pups of the same sex. Their average
lifespan is 4 years. This, however, can be shortened by their instinct to jump straight up
when startled, making them a frequent victim of vehicles.
Nine-banded armadillos range from South America to south-central and southeastern
United States. They are typically found in shrublands and woodlands in the southern half
Nine-banded armadillos feed primarily on earthworms, insect larvae and insects.
They also eat small vertebrates, bird eggs, fruits and berries.
Return to the Mammal's Den!
Text: George Potts and Bob Gress
Design: Jim Mason