Nine-banded Armadillo

Nine-banded Armadillo


grasslands, wetlands, woods and scrub


Despite their strange appearance, armadillos are designed for survival. Protected by their “shell” and “armored” bands—hardened, overlapping sections of skin—these mammals are sensitive to their surroundings. Using their amazing sense of smell, the wiry hairs on their sides and bellies, similar to “curb feelers” on a car, and their long curved claws to dig up their prey, they are amazing insect exterminators.

Nine-banded Armadillo

Unlike the three-banded armadillo that can actually rolls up in a ball for protection, these armadillos, along with the other 18 species, must run, dig or press themselves in the dirt to keep from getting flipped over when threatened. Though the nine-banded armadillo’s population is not threatened, they are often considered pests by gardeners, fall victim to car tires, or are eaten and harvested for their shells. Armadillos can jump 3-4 feet straight up when frightened.


Nine-banded armadillos reach sexual maturity at the age of one year, and reproduce every year for the rest of their lives. Gestation is about 150 days after which 4 identical young are born.

Interesting Facts:

The nine-banded armadillo is the most wide-spread species of armadillo and is the only armadillo native to the United States.

Did YOU Know?    
Armadillos are capable of smelling insects six inches below the ground.
Nine-banded Armadillo
Class: mammals
Order: Cingulata
Family: Dasypodidae
Genus: Dasypus
Species: novemcinctus
Length: 20 - 42 inches long including tail
Weight: 10-25 pounds
Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Wild Diet: insects, invertebrates, small reptiles, carrion, fruit, berries, and vegetation
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building

Learn more about mammals or animals from North America!
Or, cross-reference the two!