Armadillos: Armadillos have a distinctive bony shell which protects them. They have strong feet with long claws which they use for digging burrows where they rest and nest. They feed on ants and termites and may eat other plant and animal foods.
Giant Armadillo
Priodontes maximus Giant Armadillo image
Makushi name: MauraimÓ
Creole name: Yesi, Yaci
Size: body=90 cm; tail=50 cm; weight=30 kg
Description: Very large. Carapace (bony shell) greyish edged yellow, underparts pinkish, not fully covered by shell. Very large legs and feet with massive claws on front foot. Tail covered with pentagonal scales. Unmistakable.
Activity: Nocturnal; terrestrial and subterranean.
Habits: Solitary. Dens in the daytime in burrows, often dug into termite mounds. This huge armadillo feeds by digging into the nests of ants and termites, ramming the nest and moving its legs like a jackhammer. If disturbed it may sit up on its haunches to sniff the air.
Habitat: Rainforest and savannah.
Signs: Front track with massive claw mark well spaced from toe pad. Huge burrow has a semicircular entrance about 45 cm wide; extensive damage to termite or ant nests indicates recent activity.
Status: Rare throughout most of its range. Listed on CITES Appendix I. IUCN rank of Endangered.
Distribution in Iwokrama
Great Long-nosed Armadillo
Dasypus kappleri Great Long-nosed Armadillo image
Makushi name: Kaikan, Kapasi, Mu'ru, PÓrun
Creole name: Ta-too
Size: body=55 cm; tail=45 cm; weight=10 kg
Description: Medium-sized, with a relatively elongated snout; narrow, close-set ears; carapace (bony shell) with a dome-shaped profile and 7 to 9 movable bands of scales on mid-back; well developed projecting scutes (bony plates) behind the knees. The base of the long, armoured tail is thick and noticeably flattened, especially in adults. Armadillos have no eyeshine.
Activity: Nocturnal, terrestrial.
Habits: Solitary. This armadillo is often heard lumbering through leaves and twigs before it is seen.
Habitat: Forest floor, especially near swamps or streams.
Signs: Burrow is conspicuous, about 25 cm in diameter with a smooth dome-shaped entrance, usually located near streams. Likewise, its bird-like, three-toed tracks are distinctive. This armadillo has a strong odour.
Status: Locally common.
Distribution in Iwokrama


[ Iwokrama Home page ] [ Iwokrama Guides ] [ Mammals of Iwokrama ]

© 1999 Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development