The body of Cabassous centralis ranges from 30 cm to 71 cm. The tail varies from 10 cm to 18 cm. Cabassous centralis is called the naked-tail armadillo because its tail lacks the protective, keratinous plates found on its body. They are also called eleven-banded armadillos for the number of bands that make up their "armor." Some hair can be found in the spaces between the bands, on the limbs, and on the ventral surface of the body. Large claws adapted for digging are found on both the forefeet and hindfeet. The middle claw is especially large and sickle-shaped. Coloration is dark brown to almost black with yellow lateral areas and a yellow-gray underside. The head is broad with a short, wide snout and well-separated ears. This species walks on the tips of its claws on its forefeet and on the soles of the hindfeet. It is capable running rapidly for short distances to escape danger.