Armadillo rolling up into a defensive ball


Armadillos as a group include not just the modern armadillos, but their extinct relatives, the Pampatheres and giant Glyptodonts. They evolved in South America, but several species spread into North America when the Isthmus of Panama was formed. Their main protection from predators is a casing of armour, constructed of bone and horn. In the Glyptodonts this defence was sometimes supplemented by a heavy club-like tail, which could be wielded as a weapon.

Scientific name: Cingulata

Rank: Order


Map showing the distribution of the Armadillos taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Armadillos can be found in a number of locations including: Amazon Rainforest, North America, South America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

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Prehistoric life

Glyptodonts Glyptodonts
Glyptodonts were superficially similar to armadillos, but much larger, weighing almost as much as a car. They were covered in a rigid armour, which could be up to 5cm thick.


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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web