Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
Search the Archive

  Cingulata · Dasypodidae · Dasypus novemcinctus
   Smithsonian Institution
   Copyright Notice
   Privacy Notice
Dasypus novemcinctus

Nine-banded Armadillo

Order: Cingulata
Family: Dasypodidae

Click to see adaptations.   
Image of Dasypus novemcinctus
Click to enlarge. (117 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

The tank-like Nine-banded Armadillo's range has greatly expanded northward in the last 100 years. In the mid-1800s it was found only as far north as southern Texas; by the 1970s it lived in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee; now it’s also on the East Coast. Armadillos are typically active at night or twilight. They shuffle along slowly, using their sense of smell to find food—mostly insects, and occasionally worms, snails, eggs, amphibians, and berries. They root and dig with their nose and powerful forefeet to unearth insects or build a burrow. They always give birth to identical, same-sex quadruplets that develop from a single fertilized egg. Only two mammals are known to get a disease called leprosy: humans and armadillos. This has made armadillos important in medical research.

Also known as:
Long-nosed Armadillo

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are heavier than females.

Range: 615-800 mm

Range: 5.5-7.7 kg males, 3.6-6 kg females


Linnaeus, C., 1758.  Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classis, ordines, genera, species cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, p. 51. Tenth Edition, Vol. 1. Laurentii Salvii, Uppsala, 1:1-824.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Dasypus novemcinctus

Image of Dasypus novemcinctus
Click to enlarge. (135kb)

Image of Dasypus novemcinctus
Dasypus novemcinctus (Nine-banded Armadillo), Panama
Click to enlarge. (172kb)

Skull of Dasypus novemcinctus
Click to enlarge. (16kb)

Bones and Teeth

Dasypus novemcinctus
Side view of the neck vertebrae, with the head-end to the right. Click to enlarge. (12kb)

Dasypus novemcinctus
Right forelimb, including shoulder blade and collarbone. Click to enlarge. (14kb)


Dasypus novemcinctus
Right lower leg and foot. Click to enlarge. (18kb)

Dasypus novemcinctus
Back (dorsal) view of the pelvic girdle. Click to enlarge. (33kb)