Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus)

Have you ever seen a coat of armor? It seems that it would be quite difficult to eat in or sleep in. Imagine wearing it all of the time! Giant Armadillos do, but it doesn’t seem to bother them a bit. They run, play, eat and sleep in theirs without complaint. Of course it would come in handy if some big animal were trying to eat him. I don’t image armor would seem too tasty after one big bite.

South America’s grasslands, brush lands, woodlands, and forests are home to the Giant Armadillo. This armored creature can be found in many countries there, including Brazil. He prefers to live in burrows that are near water. They enjoy digging tunnels to travel through, live in, hide in, and even find food in.

A Giant Armadillo’s armored body is brown and its head, tail and bottom edge of the shell is white. Its 30 – 40 inch long body is covered with bands of flexible armor. There are fourteen to seventeen bands that cover its body and more still that coat its 20-inch tail. These armored fellows have huge powerful claws, especially the third claw which is sickle shaped. All of that armor doesn’t seem to get in the way of movement. Even though he may weigh as much as 130 pounds (most weigh between 40 and 70), a Giant Armadillo is so agile that it can balance upright on its hind legs and tail.

Yuck! Imagine feasting on termites, insects, spiders, worms, larvae, snakes and dead animals. Giant Armadillos do, and enjoy every bite! They’ll even dig for their yucky dinner. Oh, once in a while they enjoy a wiggly snake for dessert.

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A baby Giant Armadillo weighs about four pounds. Mama armadillos usually have one baby, but once in a while she might have twins. It takes about four months before she delivers one of these little armored critters. Can you imagine cuddling a baby Giant Armadillo?

The armored creatures are not favorites among farmers. They love to dig. They can dig with extreme speed, and sometimes their digging damages the farmer’s crops. This often causes farmers to kill a Giant Armadillo when they spy him on their land.

Did you know?

Giant Armadillos can’t curl up enough to totally protect themselves like other armadillos. Because of this they often choose to dig a hole to escape predators.

Giant Armadillos are considered endangered species in the United States.

Giant Armadillos live from twelve to fifteen years.

Further Information on the Giant Armadillo:

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