Nine-banded armadillo sniffing green grass

How Long Do Armadillos Live

You’ve probably seen an armadillo if you’re from the southern United States or Central and South America. These curious-looking critters are known for their armor-like plates that cover their bodies.

Armadillos face many threats in the wild, from habitat loss to being hunted for their meat and shells. By exploring their lifespan and behavior, we can discover new ways to help keep them safe and thriving in their natural habitats.

Key Pest Points:

Armadillos typically live between 7-20 years in the wild and up to 23 years in captivity.

• The main threats to armadillo populations are humans hunting for food and natural predators such as coyotes or foxes.

Armadillo Lifespan in the Wild

Armadillos are good at adapting to their environment and can be seen in different areas, such as forests, grasslands, and deserts. The average lifespan of an armadillo in the wild is around 7 – 20 years. However, this also depends on the species of armadillo and the environment.

Due to deforestation, Armadillos face various threats in the wild, like predators, hunting for meat, and habitat destruction. These threats can significantly impact their population and contribute to their shorter lifespan.

armadillo being held in hands

Armadillo Lifespan in Captivity

Armadillos can be seen in zoos, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries. These places not only put them on display for the public but also help with conservation efforts.

When kept in captivity, armadillos tend to outlive their wild counterparts. Those get consistent food and veterinary care in a controlled environment for as long as 23 years.

Factors That Can Affect an Armadillo’s Lifespan

Armadillos may appear tough, but various factors can impact their lifespan. Here are a few things that can make a difference:

  • Habitat: An armadillo’s survival is affected by food, water, and shelter. Those living in damaged or isolated areas may have difficulties accessing these resources. While those living in protected or well-maintained areas may thrive better.
  • Predators: Armadillos have predators, just like other wildlife. Coyotes, bobcats, and alligators are some of the animals that can hunt and kill them. Moreover, armadillos’ defensive mechanism of curling up into a ball may not always work, especially against humans. Therefore, the presence and abundance of predators in a given area can affect the armadillos’ mortality rate.
  • Diseases: Armadillos can carry diseases, including leprosy, which can infect humans. However, armadillos can also face outbreaks, such as the Chagas disease, that can lower their population. Living in polluted or unsanitary environments can increase their risk of contracting illnesses.
  • Climate: Armadillos can handle different environments but prefer warm and humid settings. This means that temperature, rainfall, or humidity shifts can impact their health and survival.

By understanding these factors, we can better appreciate the fascinating dynamics of the armadillo’s world and work to conserve their habitats and populations.

Close-up of a nine-banded armadillo standing near a hole he has dug in the dead grass of winter.

How To Increase Armadillo Lifespan

There are many ways to help increase armadillo lifespan and promote their conservation. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Practice responsible hunting: Armadillos can be hunted for their meat and shells, but it’s essential to do so responsibly without excessive hunting. Also, avoid using snares or traps that could hurt armadillos and other wildlife.
  • Encourage habitat protection: Armadillos need habitats with plenty of food and shelter, so it’s important to work towards protecting their habitats from deforestation, poaching, agricultural expansion, and urban development.
  • Maintain clean water sources: Make sure the water sources in nature are clean and safe because dirty water can lead to diseases in wildlife. Another way to help limit pollutants that end up in rivers and streams is to cut back on fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Get involved: Consider joining a local conservation organization or volunteering to help protect armadillos and their habitats. You can also spread awareness about the importance of armadillo conservation.

Together, we can ensure these incredible animals keep thriving for generations.

Signs of Illness in Armadillos

Knowing what to look for when your armadillo buddy isn’t feeling great is essential. Here are the common indicators of illness or health problems to watch out for:

  • Changes in behavior: If an armadillo is normally active but suddenly seems lethargic or inactive, this can indicate that something isn’t right. Additionally, pay close attention to how the animal interacts with other armadillos—aggression or avoidance of contact can be a sign of illness. Armadillos are not usually dangerous but may bite if they feel threatened.
  • Weight loss: If an armadillo appears to have lost considerable weight, this may indicate that it is suffering from some health problem.
  • Eating patterns: It’s crucial to monitor your armadillo’s eating habits. If you notice a decrease or avoidance of food, this may indicate an issue.

If you spot these symptoms in an armadillo, take it to a vet as soon as possible. With the right level of care, these nocturnal creatures can enjoy a long and healthy lifespan.


Do armadillos make good pets?

Armadillos can’t be domesticated– they are wild animals. Also, they can spread diseases, including leprosy, that can harm people and other pets. Plus, they need specific care and habitat conditions to survive, which makes it hard for them to thrive in most homes.

How long do armadillos sleep a day?

Armadillos typically sleep during the day and become active at night. They can sleep up to 16 hours, depending on temperature and humidity.

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