Hairy Armadillo

Chaetophractus vellerosus

Order: Cingulata

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

  • Provide sub-strait that they can dig in, if kept in two small enclosure with out proper exercise they can dig holes in exhibits. Substrait such as sand or mulch provides a great digging opportunity
  • Things such as logs or pvc tubes to burrow into
  • They are excelent climbers so make sure that any structure they climb has easy access to the ground other wise they will take a leap of faith.
  • Does well housed with other species. Greensboro Science Center has Hairy armadillo housed with 9-banded armadillo and Tamandua

Diet Requirements

  • Not much is available on diets for Hairy Armadillos,
  • at the Greensboro Science Center
    • Twice a day
    • 7g Mazuri insectivore diet soaked
    • 3g chopped fruit

Veterinary Concerns

  • They have been known to menstruate, so seasonal bleeding can be expected

Notes on Enrichment & Training

  • At the Greensboro Science Center ours enjoys sleeping in a firehose hammock
  • Very food motivated and responds well to training, quick learner
  • Presenting food in puzzle feeders
  • Can gain weight quickly so keep any food enrichment to a minimum


Colony or Breeding Management


Individual Identification


Programmatic Information


Temperature Guidelines



Tips on Presentation

  • This species is used for programs at the Cincinnati Zoo.
  • Armadillo educational materials, including coloring pages and mazes that nicely accompany armadillo encounters, are available from the Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project at
  • Presenting them in a tub or clear bin

Touching Techniques

Tips on Handling

  • Wild caught or adult animals animals may be challenging to acclimate to handling, better success has been achieved with animals handled from the time they are young.


Potential Messaging

  • Climate change: Desert and Dryland species have specific adaptations for the temperature and water availability in their natural habitat and may not be able to adjust to the drying effects of climate change. Hotter conditions promote wildfires. More extreme drought conditions kill plants that hold the soil in place and occasional extreme rain events wash that soil away preventing them from growing back in a process called desertification. Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels contributes to climate change by trapping heat in the atmosphere. Please ask guests to walk, bike, or take public transportation when possible and to reduce their use of fossil fuels when they do drive by buying a fuel economic car, carpooling, combining errands, and keeping vehicles properly tuned up and their tires properly inflated. At home and work, purchase Energy Star appliances, turn off lights when they are not in use, and use heaters and air conditioners sparingly. The principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle will also help by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions involved with the manufacture and disposal of unnecessary goods.

Acquisition Information

  • The North American screaming hairy armadillo population is currently managed as a Red SSP under the Pangolin, Aardvark, Xenarthra (PAX) TAG. Please contact Lindsay Sears, the SSP Coordinator, at for availability details.

Comments from the Rating System

  • Greensboro Science Center: ours does not like to be held near her exhibit, but if she gets to run around, then people seem to enjoy watching her

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat


Physical Description

  • Can be compared to a softball, thick, sturdy
  • Hairy underside, some are hairy along back
  • Can not roll into a ball

Life Cycle

  • Can live into their 20s


Active in morning and early evening

Threats and Conservation Status

Least concern. Hunted for sport, meat, and shell. Persecuted in agricultural areas.

Did you know…


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Any Documents to attach, species spotlights, etc.

Contributors and Citations


  • Houston Zoo, Natural Encounters
  • Greensboro Science Center

Top Photo: By Chaetophractus_vellerosus.jpg: Arnaud Boucherderivative work: WolfmanSF (talk) – Chaetophractus_vellerosus.jpg, Public Domain,