They live in the Grand Chaco; a huge area of tropical grassland that covers parts of Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.
Armadillos have a long sticky tongue that they use to lap up insects, especially ants. They receive a special diet here at the zoo and will also eat small quantities of fruit and veg as well.
The word armadillo is derived from a Spanish word that means ‘little armoured one’. Their strong bony shell protects them from predators, and the three-banded armadillo can even roll itself up into a ball with its head hidden safely in the middle if attacked.
They are great diggers and will often share burrows with other animals in the wild, although their strong claws mean they can dig their own 'hidey hole' if they need to.
Unlike the well protected adults, baby armadillos have soft, leathery skin that hardens as they grow.
Armadillos are at risk from habitat loss as their grassland homes are used for agriculture. They are also hunted for food and their armoured shell is sometimes used to make tourist trinkets.
- Latin Name: Tolypeutes matacus
- Class: Mammals
- Order: Cingulata
- Family: Chlamyphoridae
- Conservation status: Near Threatened
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