IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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Biology

This species is nocturnal in summer when the days are hot, and active during the day in winter. It is territorial with reported home ranges of about 3.4 hectares (2). Like other armadillos it uses its powerful claws to dig burrows and can have up to 20 burrows within its home range which are each 1.5-3 metres long (5). Andean hairy armadillos use these burrows to live in, rear offpsring and to escape from predators (4).  This fascinating animal forages by moving slowly along with the nose in the soil and leaf litter, then digging up material with the fore-claws once food has been sniffed out (4). It has a highly developed sense of smell and feeds on insects, vegetable matter and fruits, birds eggs and even small vertebrates such as snakes and small lizards (4). An armadillo will often dig beneath a decomposing carcass to find a feast of maggots and insects. They have even been known to jump on snakes to kill them with their sharp armour plates (2). Another interesting behaviour of this armadillo is its ability to cross ponds and creeks. It either gulps air until it becomes buoyant and paddles across the water, or sinks to the bottom and strolls across, postponing its next breath until it reaches the other side (5).  This species, like other armadillos, is relatively solitary except during the breeding season of the summer months (5). Courtship involves the male following the female avidly, and mating occurs with the male mounting the female from behind. Male armadillos have one of the longest penises amongst mammals, extending to two-thirds of the body length (4). The gestation time is 2 months, and there may be multiple litters per year. The female usually gives birth to two young in a burrow. They are born with pink soft bodies and are weaned at 50 - 60 days, when their carapace is developed (2). Individuals live for up to 16 years (2).

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Source: ARKive

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