What Do Armadillos Eat As Pets and In The Wild

What Do Armadillos Eat As Pets and In The Wild

Armadillos are classified as animals and are endomorphs, meaning that they are warm-blooded mammals, and though predominantly insectivorous, all 20 species are omnivorous and eat a mix of vegetation and other animals.

This article will discuss what armadillos eat in the wild and as pets, including what wildlife rehabilitators feed to ill, injured, or orphaned rescued armadillos.

A Quick Overview of Armadillos

  • Kingdom: Armadillos belong to the Animalia
  • Phylum: Armadillos are chordates – they have a notochord or backbone
  • Class: Armadillos are endomorphs – warm-blooded mammals
  • Superorder: Armadillos are related to sloths and anteaters and belong to the order Xenarthra
  • Order: Armadillos have exterior armor and give birth to live young called placental mammals and belong to the order Cingulata
  • Family: Daysipodidae – the formal name for the armadillo family
  • Number of Species: There are 20 known species of extant (surviving) armadillos
  • Biggest extinct armadillo species: Glyptodonts were the size of a small car!
  • Biggest extant armadillo species: Giant armadillo
  • Smallest extant armadillo species: Pink fairy armadillo
  • North American armadillo species: nine-banded armadillo
  • Armadillo diet: omnivorous, meaning they eat both vegetation and other animals
  • Armadillo weight: between 3 oz. and 120 pounds

What Is the Armadillo Diet?

Armadillos are known for their love for insects, which make up about 90% of their year-round diet, but they are also omnivores and will eat other foods to acquire the nutrients their bodies need.

With their poor eyesight and hearing, armadillos find insects and other food by relying on their sense of smell, long sticky tongues, and sharp digging claws on their forepaws.

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What Do Armadillos Eat in the Wild?

Although there are over 20 known species of armadillos worldwide, all wild armadillos have the same diet, depending on what is seasonally available in their native geographic zones. These animals have simple teeth, lacking specialized teeth like molars for grinding, so they feed on foods that are easy to chew, swallow, and digest.

Armadillos are opportunistic, which means they eat whatever they come across while searching for food, and they have three major preferences:

  • Insects:
  • Fire ants
  • Centipedes
  • Spiders
  • Grasshoppers
  • Termites
  • Roaches
  • Small invertebrate animals:
  • Crabs
  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Lizards
  • Newts
  • Snails and slugs
  • Small snakes
  • Eggs of other animals such as quail and sea turtles
  • Plants:
  • Bark (to get at insects hiding underneath)
  • Soft fruits such as grapes, bananas, and small berries
  • Seasonal berries
  • Leaves and leaf molds
  • Mushrooms and other fungi
  • Plant roots and tubers

What Do Armadillos Eat in Captivity?

In captivity, while rehabilitating, armadillos can eat the same foods as they would in the wild, so small invertebrates such as grubs, snails, and earthworms are appropriate food for adult armad

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