A closeup of two baby armadillos outdoors.
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Baby Armadillo Facts

If you love unique and fascinating animals, chances are you’ve heard about the baby armadillo. These creatures are adorable with their small, armored bodies and endearing faces. But beyond their irresistibly cute appearance, they’re also fascinating creatures native to the Americas.

Baby armadillos, also known as pups, are born with a soft, leathery shell that hardens just a few days after birth, forming the iconic armored plates that protect them from predators. They have many fascinating characteristics, so let’s learn more exciting facts about these creatures.

Key Pest Points:

• Baby armadillos are born with soft, leathery skin that hardens to form iconic shells in just a few days.

• Armadillos are omnivores who eat worms, insects, fruits, and small vertebrates.

• They live in the same burrow as their mother for a few months until they are old enough to live independently.

Lifecycle of a Baby Armadillo

These pups undergo an interesting lifecycle that is worth knowing. Armadillo babies are born after a gestation period of two to five months. At birth, it is fully developed and will weigh around 95-115 grams.

Once they are born, the pup stays in its mom’s burrow for about 2-3 months. The mom ensures the burrow is comfy and safe for her little one. During the first few weeks, the pup needs its mom’s undivided attention and only drinks her milk. 

After this period, the armadillo babies takes its first steps outside the burrow but remains dependent on its mother for protection and nourishment. The mother armadillo, an expert in finding food, brings the pup insects, grubs, and other small creatures for consumption.

The baby’s armor will start to harden days after they are born. This shell is made of bony plates and will continue to grow with the animal as it matures.

When the pup is around 12-15 months old, it is fully matured and ready to go off on its own. The young adult will begin to form its burrow and explore its surroundings, using its keen sense of smell to search for food.

The lifecycle of a baby armadillo is a fascinating journey filled with challenges and milestones. From birth to maturity, the pup evolves from a tiny, helpless creature to an independent adult, learning to navigate the world around it and becoming a part of the unique and remarkable species that call it home.

Young southern three-banded armadillo Tolypeutes matacus in hand

Physical Characteristics of a Baby Armadillo

Armadillo babies have unique features that make them stand out. Here are some of their unique characteristics:

  • Armored skin: As a member of the Dasypodidae family, armadillos are known for their hard, bony plates that cover their bodies. These plates are a natural defense against predators and help protect the armadillo’s delicate skin.
  • Short, stocky legs: Armadillos have strong, muscular legs designed for digging and burrowing in the ground. They may not be the fastest runners, but they are good at navigating the earth.
  • Pointy snouts: They have small, pointed snouts that they use to burrow through the ground and search for food. They have a great sense of smell that helps them find insects and other small prey.
  • Long tails: The tails of armadillos are long and whip-like, with a scaly, leathery texture. The tail provides the animal with balance and agility as it navigates through its environment.
  • Small size: Baby armadillos are typically very small, with most species born around 100 grams. Despite their small size, they’re incredibly resilient and can fend for themselves from a young age.
  • Claws: They have sharp, curved claws on their front and hind feet for digging. These claws are ideal for finding insects and other prey in the dirt.
  • Ears and Eyes: Baby armadillos are born with small ears and eyes that are not yet fully functional. They will open their eyes at around 22-25 days. Their sense of hearing and vision will improve as they grow and develop.

From their armor to their sharp claws, these little creatures are perfectly adapted to survive in the wild.

Armadillo Baby Diet

Baby armadillos are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. However, they rely solely on their mother’s milk during the first few weeks.

Their diet includes insects, bugs, small lizards, fruit, berries, and other plant material such as grasses and leaves. Insects make up most of an armadillo’s diet during its early months.

Mealworms, crickets, and beetles are all great protein sources for baby armadillos. The diet should include plant matter, such as grasses and dandelions. Fruits like blueberries or raspberries can be added as well for variety.

Armadillos eat differently throughout the year based on what food is around. But it’s important for pups to always have access to fresh water so they can grow.

Young southern three-banded armadillo in a ball, in hand.

How to Prevent Possums From Digging and Living in Your Backyard

Armadillos are quite a nuisance when they start digging and living in your backyard. Not only do they create unsightly holes and burrows, but they can also destroy your prized plants and leave a trail of destruction wherever they go. But don’t worry, there are ways to prevent armadillos from invading your backyard. Here’s how:

  • Fence it up: Armadillos are excellent diggers, but a sturdy fence around your yard will keep them out. Ensure the fence is buried at least one to two feet into the ground to prevent them from burrowing under it.
  • Eliminate food sources: Armadillos are omnivores and eat almost anything, including insects and small plants. Clearing out debris, keeping the yard mowed, and controlling insects can eliminate food sources.
  • Use repellents: A few natural repellents can work to keep armadillos away from your backyard. Spray a mixture of chili powder and water around the edges of the yard. Use cayenne pepper, garlic, mothballs, or predator urine, such as coyote urine from a lawn and garden store.
  • Seal off entrances: Armadillos are known for their excellent digging abilities, so take proactive measures to detect and block the armadillo’s entrances.
  • Set a humane trap: If you find an armadillo in your backyard, set a humane trap baited with earthworms or mealworms. When the armadillo is caught, release it at least five miles from home.
  • Call a professional: If all else fails and you still have armadillo issues in your backyard, it’s best to call a wildlife removal specialist. They can safely and humanely remove the armadillos from your property.

When it comes to baby armadillos, they will follow their mother outside of the burrow and stay with her for up to a year after birth. Leave these babies alone, as interfering with their care can cause harm or even death.

So whether you are trying to keep squirrels from your gardentrap a possum or get rid of armadillos in your backyard, it is important to be aware of the creatures around you. With some knowledge and proactive measures, armadillos can be dealt with successfully without causing any harm.

Baby southern three-banded armadillo Tolypeutes matacus in hand of a zookeeper

FAQs

How long do baby armadillos stay with their mom?

Once baby armadillos are done nursing, they stay with their mothers for a few months. This helps them gain some independence and prepare for their solo adventure in the great outdoors.

Are baby armadillos friendly?

Armadillos are harmless little critters that are often timid and stay away from people. They won’t come near you, but they may get a little spooked if they feel uneasy. It’s essential to give them their space and allow them to feel secure in their surroundings. So, let’s be kind and keep a respectful distance.

Can baby armadillos survive on their own?

Armadillos can fend for themselves once they hit 12 weeks. But they still need a nurturing environment and plenty of food to flourish. If you come across an orphaned pup, the best thing you can do is seek help from animal control. They’ll provide assistance to get the little guy back to safety.

Do armadillos lay eggs?

No, armadillos do not lay eggs like some other animals. They are actually mammals and give birth to live young after a gestation period of about 2-5 months. 

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