Southern Three-banded Armadillo

Southern Three-banded Armadillo


South America: north central Argentina, east central Bolivia and sections of Brazil and Paraguay.


Open woods, farmlands, and sometimes urban areas.


They are dark brown and armored with a leathery shell that is usually has 3 bands. This armor covers the tail, head, feet, and back of the animal. The middle three toes on the back feet are grown together and have a thick claw. The forefeet toes are separated and have 4 claws.

Southern Three-banded Armadillo

The three-banded armadillo is the only armadillo that can completely close its shell around its entire body. In this position it is protected from an attack by most enemies, although a large predator like a jaguar may be capable of cracking the shell. This shell is also a good insulator and reduces heat loss, so that the three-banded armadillo can stay active during extremely cold winter weather. Three-banded armadillos are usually solitary but occasionally come together during cold weather and breeding season. They do not dig burrows of their own but use burrows abandoned by other animals, or they make their dens under dense vegetation.


At 9-12 months of age the southern three banded armadillo reaches sexual maturity. November - January are when most young are born, but births have been reported throughout the year. The single young are born blind but quickly develop the ability to close their shells and walk. After 72 days they no longer depend on their mother.

Southern Three-banded Armadillo
Class: mammals
Genus: Tolypeutes
Species: matacus
Length: Total body length is about 1 ft (300mm) with a tail length of about 2.5 (64mm) ft
Height: N/A
Weight: N/A
Wild Diet: Eats mainly ants and termites. They use their strong legs and large claws to dig through insect colonies or under bark to get to their food.
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Off Exhibit: Education Animal Facility

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