La Plata three-banded armadillo

Latin Name
Tolypeutes matacus




Known for its tough, segmented skin, the La Plata three-banded armadillo is named for the three distinct bands at its mid-section. This small mammal weighs an average of 3 pounds and can reach 12 inches in length.



This species is native to South America, where it can found from northern Argentina into Brazil and Paraguay.


The species is near threatened. Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the La Plata Three-Banded Armadillo Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


The La Plata three-banded armadillo typically inhabits grasslands, dry forests or savannas.


La Plata three-banded armadillos typically feed on ants and termites. They use their strong claws to dig up insects on which to feed. A long, sticky tongue helps the species gather its food.

Life History

Individuals are solitary, coming together to breed. Single young are born after a gestation period of 120 days. They are born with their eyes sealed but are soon able to follow their mothers.

Special Adaptations

The La Plata three-banded armadillo can close its durable shell into an armored ball, protecting the species from predators. In its closed formation, the shell also retains heat, helping the species to stay warm.

Bonus Content

Lincoln Park Zoo visitors can learn fun facts about animals with daily hands-on encounters with wildlife.

Meet An Animal
The daily Meet an Animal activity lets zoo visitors learn fun facts while touching the rough plates of a La Plata three-banded armadillo or other ambassador animals.


ARKive Media

ARKive image - Close up of a southern three-banded armadillo uncurling from defensive ballARKive image - Southern three-banded armadilloARKive image - Southern three-banded armadillo leaving nest

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Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit