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Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). Photo by John and Karen Hollingsworth, USFWS.


The armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) has a protective armor of “horny” material on its head, body, and tail. This bony armor has nine movable rings between the shoulder and hip shield. The head is small with a long, narrow, pig-like snout. Canine and incisor teeth are absent. The peg-like cheek teeth range in number from seven to nine on each side of the upper and lower jaw. The long tapering tail is en-cased in 12 bony rings. The track usually appears to be three-toed and shows sharp claw marks. The armadillo is about the size of an opossum, weighing from 8 to 17 pounds (3.5 to 8 kg).

Legal Status

Armadillos are unprotected in most states.

Species Range

The armadillo ranges from south Texas to the southeastern tip of New Mexico, through Oklahoma, the southeastern corner of Kansas and the southwestern corner of Missouri, most of Arkansas, and southwestern Mississippi. The range also includes southern Alabama, Georgia, and most of Florida (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Range of the armadillos in North America.