Extant Xenarthra


Order: Xenarthra
Family: 4
Species: 29



Armadillos are characterised by their bony skin covered armour, which they use for protection. When threatened, the armadillo crouches down, or digs into the earth slightly in order to expose only its upper surface when the dermal armour is, as the skin on the under belly is leathery and tough but impenetrable. Large sharp claws allow the ripping up of soil in order to find food. Their main diet consists of ants, termites, worms and spiders. The Giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) can also feed on lizards and small snakes due to its much larger size. Armadillos will give birth to one or two young after a gestation period of 4 months.


Example species:

Hairy armadillo
Chaetophractus villosus

Length: 27-40 cm
Weight: 1-3 kg
Social unit: Individual
Region: South of South America
Status: Unconfirmed

Author: Emma-Louise Nicholls
Last updated: 20th November 2005
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Websites produced by students on the MSc Palaeobiology programme in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol for academic year 2005-6