Southern three-banded armadillo in exhibit

Southern Three-banded Armadillo

Scientific Name

Tolypeutes matacus

Class

Mammalia

Order

Cingulata

Range

Central portion of South America

Habitat

Grasslands, dry forests, and savannas

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Southern three-banded armadillo in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Near Threatened IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Near Threatened

More Information

Physical Description

Southern three-banded armadillo were named for the three distinct hinges across their mid-section that allow them to curl into a ball when threatened. These small mammals weigh about three pounds and can reach up to 12 inches in length. They typically feed on ants, beetle larvae, and termites. A long, sticky tongue helps them gather their food from hard-to-reach places, such as termite mounds. They are solitary and only come together to breed.

Interesting Fact 1

Southern three-banded armadillos are the only mammals that can fully close their durable shell into an armored ball.

Interesting Fact 2

They use their long, sharp claws to dig into sturdy termite mounds and break open tree bark while searching for food.

Species Survival Plan logo

Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

Learn More

Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

Learn More

Support Your Zoo

Two Chilean flamingos in exhibit

Animals Depend On People Too

When you ADOPT an animal, you support world-class animal care by helping to provide specially formulated diets, new habitat elements, and regular veterinary checkups.

ADOPT an Animal

Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy. 

Browse the Wish List

Take Action With Us

Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

Learn More