Armadillos are mammals with shell, which covers their back, head, legs, and tail, primarily eat insects and different type of bugs. It is native to America and found in different habitats of America. You may easily find them meandering down nearby roadsides while walking or travelling. In this article, we will be taking a look at what armadillos eat and their diet ingredients.


The word Armadillo is derived from the Spanish language which means “little-armed one”. It suits the animal because the strong armour covers the back, head, tail, and legs and works well against predators. Armadillos are unique because are the only living mammals that wear such shells. They protect themselves with the armour which covers their body.

According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), there is a total of 21 varieties of armadillos found. 20 species of armadillos roam North and South America, and only one, the nine-banded armadillo or long-nosed armadillo ranges from Argentina to the southern United States.

Classification or Taxonomy of Armadillo

**Classification as per the ITIS

The smallest armadillo is a pink fairy armadillo with a size of 15 cm. Most of the species of armadillos are giant and can be long up to around 5 feet. Apart from that, there is the Seven-banded armadillo, Southern long-nosed armadillo, Llanos long-nosed armadillo, Greater long-nosed armadillo and Hairy long-nosed armadillo are the species found in several different environments in South America.


They can be easily recognized by the pointy snout and small eyes. Armadillos are generally found in black, red, grey, yellow and brown in colour. They are closely related to the sloths and anteaters. The giant brown armadillo is the largest in size and can be up to 5 feet.

What Do Armadillos Eat?

Armadillos eat various insects and invertebrates including beetles, grubs, worms, fire ants and termites. They dig the ground to find insects to eat. Armadillos are able to consume thousands of insects each day. The long sticky tongue of an armadillo helps to consume insects and ants.


According to the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, Armadillos are omnivores but 90 per cent of their diet is made up of insects and larvae.

Armadillos also feed on small vertebrates, plants, and some fruit and sometimes scavenge for dead animals.  Armadillos can eat earthworms, scorpions, spiders, and other invertebrates.  Their favourite food is Lizards, small frogs, and snakes, even love to eat the eggs.


They are having very poor eyesight but utilize their keen sense of smell to hunt and find food. The animal has little to no hair to help regulate its body temperature, so in summer, they wait until evening for food.

Besides that, in the winter, armadillos look for food in the middle of the day. They are known for their ability to eat fire ants. Some of the species of armadillo live in truly cold climates. Because they cannot store fat and have low metabolic rates. Extremely cold temperatures can abolish large numbers of armadillos.

Where Do Armadillos Live?

There are 20 known species of armadillos habitat between the hot, humid equatorial region and arid deserts. Besides that, they have low blood temperature and cannot store fat. So they will stick closer to the equator and like warm temperatures.


Armadillos live in the burrow. They love staying around rainforests, grasslands, and semi-deserts because of their low metabolic rate and lack of storing fat. They are usually found near water sources like streams, creeks and water holes. Armadillos eat fruits and vegetables sometimes when there is less availability of bugs.

Armadillos prefer to live in sandy and loamy soils that are loose and drifty, which makes burrowing for food and making the den easier. The short legs and front claws of the armadillo are perfectly designed for digging deep into the ground. It grubs dens deep underground and creates networks in tunnels with different areas for sleeping.

They often have multiple burrows situated around their hunting grounds but they are not territorial. Armadillos sleep for 16 hours a day. Many armadillos live and survive alone but some species live in small groups or pairs.

We know what armadillos eat and they are nocturnal in the southern regions. They keep themselves cool underground during the day and forage at night for food. While nine-banded armadillas has the ability to adapt to the different environment and they are less nocturnal.

If you are thinking about catching an armadillo, it’s really not a good idea. It may cause leprosy disease and you may get sick. Especially the nine-banded armadillo carries leprosy. If you have a problem with an armadillo in your area, you may contact pest control or some professional related to this field.

Lifecycle Of Armadillo

Armadillos can live up to between 4 to 7 years in the wild. According to the national geography, the average lifespan of an armadillo is 12 to 15 years in captivity. The offspring process of an armadillo is very unique. Before the mating season, they start collecting food in dens and eat as required.


Although the mating season takes place in July, the female becomes pregnant in November. This is called delay implantation. However, the pubs born without the bony plates, in a few weeks their soft skin turns into a hard shell or armour.

Baby armadillos can walk just after a few hours of birth. Pups become independent about 6-12 months after they are born. Like humans, some armadillos are polyembryonic and can create four identical babies from a single embryo.

Interesting And Fun Facts About Armadillos:

  • Armadillos are the last surviving members of the Cingulata order.
  • They are excellent swimmers and can hold their breath for up to 6 minutes in the water.
  • The three-banded armadillo and Brazilian armadillo are the only species that roll up into a ball when frightened.
  • Armadillos love catching and eating grasshoppers with the help of their sticky tongue.
  • Then nine-banded armadillo can jump up to 3 feet if he feels scared.
  • The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest armadillo in the world with a size of 6 inches long and weighs around 85 gm.
  • Armadillos are good at climbing. They can easily scale fences and climb up the trees.
  • They are extremely fast runners and reach up to the speed of 30 miles an hour.
  • Nine-banded armadillos sometimes cause leprosy among humans.
  • Screaming hairy armadillo is extremely loud and blessed with alarm-like vocalizations.
  • The pichi (Zaedyus pichiy) armadillo is the only species that hibernates every winter.

Have you seen the armadillo roaming in your garden or on the roadside while you are driving?……you can share your experience with us or you know what armadillos eat in your area. Let us know if this article is informative and helpful for you below in the comment section…


About George Perkins

He is an expert in wildlife specialty and a little in hunting. He has been spending most of the time in North America for two decades. So, he is going to teach us about animal wildlife and outdoor gear. Born & raised in Austin TX, and lives with his wife and 2 sons.

Related Posts

8 thoughts on “What Do Armadillos Eat | The Mammal With Armours

  1. Alyssa says:

    BY MAYA TANNOUS They come in different shapes, sizes , colours and the smallest Armadillo might only reach up to 15.24cm long while the biggest Armadillo can reach up to 1.52400m Their eyes don’t work very well and they rely on their noises to find food. The Armadillo creatures

  2. Thanks a lot for sharing this very crucial information about armadillos with us, we hope you liked this article.

  3. Jay Wimberley says:

    Armadillos are digging in my flower beds repeatedly and I would like to find a way to deter them from this. They will dig in the same area repeatedly every night and I cannot seem to get rid of them. I live in Dallas, TX and I think these are 9 banded ones. Can you help?

  4. Bonnie Cowart says:

    We have about a dozen new holes in our yard everyday. The are also digging holes in garlic bed , digging up lillies, tomatoes, herbs I could go on and on. They aren’t touching ants and we have lubber grasshoppers by the thousands hatching. Why don’t they keep busy eating them. Any deterrents???

  5. Lonnie Hoyt says:

    How do I trap armadillos, I have a family of juveniles rooting up my yard, and I would like to relocate them.

  6. David Grey says:

    Select a bait strongly preferred by armadillos, like meal worms or earth worms. Position your bait in a way that will lure the animal all the way inside the trap.

  7. Martin D. Vickers II says:

    We have a family of young armadillo’s just appear in our back yard and seem to be finding food in our lawn. Are they any hazard to our house built on a slab here in Fl. They have been clearing a lot of lots and I’m sure that’s why they are here since the lot “behind our house is still wild land.

  8. David Grey says:

    Yeah, they are in search of food because near a house there are ample amounts of insects to eat and a place to make a burrowing hole to rest. They hazard to the house because they build hole and hole near the house is not good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *