‘Little Things Mean A Lot’ at Melbourne Zoo
Cincinnati Zoo Shares Photos of New Flamingo Hatchlings

Topeka Zoo “Gets ‘Round” to Announcing Armadillo Birth


The Topeka Zoo is excited about the arrival of their newest Southern Three-Banded Armadillo. The spherically prone boy was born May 5th and is the third offspring of mom, ‘Erin’, and dad, ‘Mulligan’.



4_IMG_4243Photo Credits: Topeka Zoo

The Southern Three-Banded Armadillo, also called the La Plata Three-Banded Armadillo, is an armadillo species from South America. It is native to parts of northern Argentina, southwestern Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.

The species, along with the Brazilian Three-Banded Armadillo, is the only armadillo capable of rolling into a complete ball for defense and protection. The three characteristic bands that cover the back of the animal allow it enough flexibility to fit its tail and head together, allowing it to protect its underbelly, limbs, eyes, nose and ears from predators. The shell covering its body is armored and the outer layer is made out of keratin, the same protein that builds human fingernails.

The Southern Three-Banded Armadillo is typically yellow or brownish in color. They are among the smaller armadillos, with a total body length of about 8.7 to 10.6 inches (22 to 27 cm) and a weight of between 2.2 and 3.5 lbs (1 and 1.6 kg).

Gestation for an armadillo lasts 60 to 120 days, depending on the species. Some species, such as the Southern Three-Banded Armadillo, will have litter sizes that range from one to eight. The young are born with soft, leathery skin, which hardens within a few weeks. They reach sexual maturity in three to 12 months, depending on species.

Unlike most armadillos, the Southern Three-Banded are not prone to digging and will instead make their homes in previously occupied burrows, such as abandoned giant anteater burrows. They have a long, sticky, straw-like tongue that allows them to gather and eat many different species of insects, primarily ants and termites. In captivity, they are known to eat fruits and vegetables.

They are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Their main threats are habitat destruction, being hunted for food, and the pet trade.