The word armadillo is Spanish for "little armoured one". The six-banded armadillo has a tough plated shell made of bone to protect them from predators in the wild. This makes armadillos very unique; they are the only living mammals to have such a shell. These bands allow some flexibility of movement, but the species is not able to curl into a complete ball like other types of armadillo.
Armadillos are closely related to anteaters and sloths.
You can find out more about the six-banded armadillo and see one in action at our Amazing Animal talks, running throughout the spring and summer.
The armadillo feeds on a combination of fruit, plants and small vertebrates.
Their strong legs and sharp claws mean they are very good diggers, enabling them to burrow underground and forage for food. They tend to forage in the early morning and evening, relying on their keen sense of smell to hunt.
Armadillos can be found in many different habitats of South America, ranging from grassland to rainforest, but are mainly found on open plains.
They have five toes on each foot equipped with sharp claws that are well developed for digging. These solitary creatures keep their dens for longer than other species.
Six-banded armadillos are not currently a threatened species. However, population numbers of nearly all armadillo species are threatened by habitat loss and over-hunting; considered a crop pest and hunted for their meat and shells.
Armadillo are most active at the end of the day. They love digging through the bark chippings in their enclosure, looking for insects.
You can find our armadillo in Monkey Jungle, where they share their enclosure with our black howler monkeys and our sloths
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