Dasypus hybridussouthern long-nosed armadillo

Geographic Range

The home range of Dasypus hybridus, the southern long-nosed armadillo, extends from southern Brazil to parts of Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. ("Xenarthra; Family Dasypodidae", 1999; Gardner, 2005; Nixon, 2009)


Southern long-nosed armadillos are terrestrial and fossorial. They live mainly in grasslands and savannas. They make burrows in the ground by digging with their clawed feet. They prefer areas with dense vegetation and limestone outcrops, from 0 to 3000 m elevation. Burrows can be up to 7.5 meters long, are usually 0.5 to 3.5 meters deep and run parallel to the ground. They usually have a nest of leaves and grass in the burrow. Individuals may have between 1 and 20 burrows in use, occupying the main one from 1 to 29 days at a time. ("Xenarthra; Family Dasypodidae", 1999; Abba, et al., 2007; "Armadillos (Family Dasypodidae)", 1990; Tolosa, 2009)

  • Range elevation
    0 to 3000 m
    0.00 to 9842.52 ft

Physical Description

Southern long-nosed armadillos have 6 to 7 brownish armored bands along their backs and sparse, bristly hair on their undersides. Armor bands are ossified skin and each band is connected to the others by creases of skin, allowing for range of motion. ("Armadillos", 2006; "Xenarthra; Family Dasypodidae", 1999; "Armadillos (Family Dasypodidae)", 1990; Nixon, 2009)

Southern long-nosed armadillos are named for their long snouts. They have short legs with four, clawed toes on the front legs and five on the hind legs. Southern long-nosed armadillos have between 6 and 8 peg-like teeth per jaw quadrant. Their tails are also armored, with rings with rings of ossified skin. The southern long-nosed armadillo weighs around four and a half pounds and is about 11 to 12.5 inches long, with a tail around half that size. ("Armadillos", 2006; "Xenarthra; Family Dasypodidae", 1999; "Armadillos (Family Dasypodidae)", 1990; Nixon, 2009)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range mass
    1 to 10 kg
    2.20 to 22.03 lb
  • Range length
    240 to 573 mm
    9.45 to 22.56 in


Southern long-nosed armadillos use smell to determine if an individual is receptive to mating. There is no obvious sexual dimorphism between males and females. Males have long penises. It is thought that this is because of all the armor it has to get around in order to mate. ("Armadillos", 2006)

The gestation period southern long-nosed armadillos is prolonged by delayed implantation. Females give birth once a year, becoming pregnant in June and delivering about 120 days later, usually some time in October. Dasypus hybridus has between 4 and 12 young in each litter. This is a distinctive aspect of southern long-nosed armadillos; other species do not have as many young per litter. Offspring are genetically identical because they develop from the same egg. Newborns are pinkish in color at birth but their skin quickly becomes armored and turns to the adult colors of browns or whites. ("Armadillos", 2006; "Xenarthra; Family Dasypodidae", 1999; "Armadillos (Family Dasypodidae)", 1990; Nixon, 2009)

  • Breeding interval
    Southern long-nosed armadillos breed once a year.
  • Breeding season
    Breeding occurs in June.
  • Range number of offspring
    4 to 12
  • Average gestation period
    120 days
  • Range weaning age
    4 to 5 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    1 years
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    1 years

Female southern long-nosed armadillos have mammae on the chest and sometimes on the abdomen. Not much is known about the relationship between the mother and her offspring but, like other mammals, females invest significantly in gestation and lactation. Nine banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) are weaned at 4 to 5 months and become mature sexually around 1 year. ("Armadillos", 2006; "Xenarthra; Family Dasypodidae", 1999)

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female


Young southern long-nosed armadillos are twice as likely to die as adults because their bony plates are not fully developed. The specific lifespan of D. hybridus is not known, but other species of armadillo have been reported to live anywhere from 9 to 40 years. ("Armadillos", 2006)


Southern long-nosed armadillos are terrestrial and fossorial, building conical burrows as long as 7.5 meters. They make circular entrances and dig burrows with their long, curved claws. They are mainly nocturnal, staying in their burrows when not active. Southern long-nosed armadillos can hold their breath for up to six minutes. This is beneficial while digging to keep their lungs free of dirt. They are mainly solitary, but are sometimes found with others. Southern long-nosed armadillos walk quickly on their front claws and back soles and heels. They burrow when threatened, either by taking shelter in an existing burrow or by quickly digging a new temporary one. They may also try to claw or bite a predator or pull their feet up and sit on the ground so that their armor protects their soft undersides. ("Armadillos", 2006; "Xenarthra; Family Dasypodidae", 1999; Abba, et al., 2007; "Armadillos (Family Dasypodidae)", 1990; Nixon, 2009; Tolosa, 2009)

Home Range

Home range information is not available for southern long-nosed armadillos.

Communication and Perception

Southern long-nosed armadillos have keen senses of smell and hearing. They do not see well. Southern long-nosed armadillos have glands on their eyelids, bottoms of the feet, ears, and anal area. These glands emit a yellow colored liquid that is used to identify individuals and find a mate. They also rub their glands on things to mark their home range. Southern long-nosed armadillos sniff the anal area of other armadillos to identify individuals. ("Armadillos", 2006)

Food Habits

Southern long-nosed armadillos are opportunistic foragers that eat mainly invertebrates. They feed on ants, beetles, crickets, termites, spiders, other invertebrates, small vertebrates, vegetation (including some fruits), and carrion. They forage noisily at night. Southern long-nosed armadillos have long tongues that they use for catching prey. They usually forage with their nose to the ground, going through leaf litter. They may also use their claws to open up a log and then use their tongues to get at what is inside. ("Armadillos", 2006; "Xenarthra; Family Dasypodidae", 1999; Nixon, 2009; Tolosa, 2009)

  • Animal Foods
  • mammals
  • amphibians
  • reptiles
  • carrion
  • insects
  • terrestrial non-insect arthropods
  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • fruit


Specific predators of southern long-nosed armadillos are not reported. In other armadillo species, predators of young include bobcats, mountain lions, large raptors, and dogs. Adult armadillos are hunted by jaguars, alligators, and bears. They are protected against some predation by their nocturnal habits, burrowing lifestyle, and armored bodies. They are also cryptically colored. ("Armadillos", 2006; Abba, et al., 2007; Nixon, 2009)

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

Southern long-nosed armadillos help to control insect populations. ("Xenarthra; Family Dasypodidae", 1999)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The armor of Dasypus hybridus is sold in some places for use as baskets. They have also been hunted for meat and some were used by South American Indians to build roofs and tombs. Armadillos are used in medical research. They are used especially for studying leprosy because they can contract it. Other medical research that uses armadillos include research on birth defects, multiple births, organ transplants, trichinosis, and typhus. ("Armadillos", 2006; "Dasyypus hybridus", 2009; "Xenarthra; Family Dasypodidae", 1999; Tolosa, 2009)

  • Positive Impacts
  • food
  • body parts are source of valuable material
  • ecotourism
  • research and education

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse effects of Dasypus hybridus on humans.

Conservation Status

Southern long-nosed armadillos are listed as near threatened. They don't thrive in zoos because they need large amounts of space. Threats to their habitat include deforestation and agriculture. ("Armadillos", 2006; "Xenarthra; Family Dasypodidae", 1999)


Phoebe Patton (author), University of Oregon, Stephen Frost (editor, instructor), University of Oregon, Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.



living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map


uses sound to communicate


living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


flesh of dead animals.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


active at dawn and dusk


having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.

delayed implantation

in mammals, a condition in which a fertilized egg reaches the uterus but delays its implantation in the uterine lining, sometimes for several months.


humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.


Referring to a burrowing life-style or behavior, specialized for digging or burrowing.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


active during the night


an animal that mainly eats dead animals

scent marks

communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


lives alone


uses touch to communicate


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1990. Armadillos (Family Dasypodidae). Pp. 612-621 in S Paker, ed. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, Vol. Volume 2, 1st English Edition. New York: Mcgraw-Hill.

2006. Armadillos. Pp. 124-127 in D MacDonald, ed. The Encyclopedia of Mammals, Vol. Volume 1, Second Edition. New York: Facts on File, Inc..

2009. "Dasyypus hybridus" (On-line). Accessed February 16, 2009 at http://www.itis.gov.

1999. Xenarthra; Family Dasypodidae. Pp. 158-166 in R Nowak, ed. Walker's Mammals of the World, Vol. Volume 1, Sixth Edition. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.

Abba, A., S. Vizcaíno, M. Cassini. 2007. Effects of Land Use on the Distribution of Three Species of Armadillos in the Argentinean Pampas. Journal of Mammalogy, 88/2: 502-502. Accessed January 21, 2009 at http://0-web.ebscohost.com.janus.uoregon.edu/ehost/detail.

Ferrari, C., P. Carmanchahi, H. Aldana Marcos, J. Affanni. 2002. Ultrastructural characterisation of the olfactory mucosa of the armadillo Dasypus hybridus (Dadypodidae, Xenarthre). Journal of Anatomy, 196/2: 269-278. Accessed January 21, 2009 at http://0-www3.interscience.wiley.com.janus.uoregon.edu/journal/119004168/abstract.

Galíndez, E., S. Codón, E. Casanave. 2000. Spleen of Dasypus hybridus (Mammalia, Dasypodidae): A light and electron microscopic study. The Anatomical Record, 258/3: 286-291. Accessed January 21, 2009 at Http://0-www3.interscience.wiley.com.janus.uroegon.edu/cgi-bin/fulltext.

Gardner, A. 2005. Order Cingulata. Pp. 94 in D Wilson, D Reeder, eds. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Vol. 1, 3 Edition. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

González, E., A. Soutullo, C. Altuna. 2001. The Burrow of*Dasypus hybridus* (Cingulata: Dasypodidae). Acta Theriologica, 46/1: 53-59. Accessed March 06, 2009 at http://www.ua.es/area/ebtn/articulos/Gonzalezetal,2001ActaTher.pdf.

Nixon, J. 2009. "Genus Dasypus" (On-line). Armadillo Online!. Accessed February 16, 2009 at https://www.msu.edu/~nixonjos/armadillo/dasypus.html.

Sciurano, R., M. Merani, J. Bustos, A. Solari. 2006. Synaptonemal complexes and XY behavior in two species of Argentinean armadillos: Chaetophractus villosus and Dasypus hybidus (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae). Biocell, 30/1: 57-66. Accessed January 21, 2009 at http://www.scielo.org.ar/pdf/biocel/v30n1/v30n1a09.pdf.

Tolosa, H. 2009. "Mammalia Xenarthra Dasypodidae Dasypus hybridus" (On-line). Accessed February 16, 2009 at http://www.treknature.com/gallery/South_America/Argentina/photo194312.htm.