U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


ARMADILLOS (Dasypus novemcinctus)

Donald W. Hawthorne, Associate Deputy Administrator, USDA/APHIS/Animal Damage Control, Washington, DC 20090-6464

Document Type Article


The armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) is a rather interesting and unusual animal that has a protective armor of “horny” material on its head, body, and tail. 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 armadillo prefers dense, shady cover such as brush, woodlands, forests, and areas adjacent to creeks and rivers. More than 90% of the armadillo’s diet is made up of insects and their larvae. The armadillo is active primarily from twilight through early morning hours in the summer. Most armadillo damage occurs as a result of their rooting in lawns, golf courses, vegetable gardens, and flower beds. Armadillos are unprotected in most states.