Southern three-banded armadillo in exhibit

Southern Three-banded Armadillo

Scientific Name
Tolypeutes matacus
Central portion of South America
Grasslands, dry forests, and savannas
Estimated Wild Population
Southern three-banded armadillo in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Near Threatened Endangered Status Graph - Near Threatened

More Information

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.

Did You Know?

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

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

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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®.

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