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Nine-banded Armadilo

Nine-banded Armadillo
Dasypus novemcinctus
(Order Xenartha; Family Dasypodidae)

Photo on Left:

Photo on Right: Erica Kuhlman, July 2011

Diagnosis:  The Nine-banded Armadillo is a mammal but it has a hard outer shell that is made of true bone and bony rings on their tails. They weigh anywhere from 6 to 13 lbs and can range from 14 to 22 inches in length. They have short legs with claws made for digging to find food or shelter. Their teeth are peg-like and do not have an enamel coating. They have poor eyesight so they use their sense of smell to hunt.

Natural History: Mating usually takes place in July and August, but the embryo remains dormate until November. The armadillo is obligate polyembryony, which means the female only lays one egg and this one egg splits into four identical young, so the armadillo gives birth to four identical off spring. This species can have a life span of up to 15 years.

Distribution: This species is native to South America. This species now ranges from South America northward into the United States and can be found in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and Texas.

Habitat: Armadillos live in temperate and warm climates, such as grasslands, rain forests and semi-deserts

Diet: Armadillos mainly eat small invertebrates, like grubs and ants, and small soft plants. They may also eat small bits of flesh from dread animals if they find them.

Conservation Status: Not threatened

Etymology: Armadillo is a Spanish word meaning ‘little armored one’, referring to the bony plates on it body

Video:  Texas Armadillo



Animal Diversity Web:

Armadillo Online:

Texas Armadillo:


McDonough, Colleen M., & Loughry, W.J. (2005). Impacts of land management practices on a population of nine-banded armadillos in norther florida. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 33(4), 1198-1209.

Loughry W. J. and C. M.McDonough. (1998). Spatial patterns in a population of nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus). American Midland Naturalist, 140, 161-169.

Enders, A.C. (2002). Implantation in the nine-banded armadillo: how does a single blastocyst form four embryos? Placenta, 23, 71-85.

Image Credits:
Dasypus novemcinctus. Photo from:

Armadillo claw. Photo by Erica Kuhlman, July 2011.

Submitted by: Erica Kuhlman, July 2011

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Generated on 2011. This website is continuously updated.
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