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The giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus), colloquially tatou, ocarro, tatu-canastra or tatú carreta, is the largest living species of armadillo (although the extinct glyptodonts were much larger). It was once found widely throughout the tropical forests of eastern South America and now ranges throughout varied habitat as far south as northern Argentina. This species is considered vulnerable to extinction.

The giant armadillo prefers termites and some ants as prey, and often consumes the entire population of a termite mound. It also has been known to prey upon worms, larvae and larger creatures, such as spiders and snakes, and plants.

At least one zoo park, in Villavicencio, Colombia—called Los Ocarros—is dedicated to this animal.

Armadillos are one of the oldest groups of mammals and have a quirky appearance, possessing a tough shell composed of bony plates in the dermis covered by horny scales. The giant armadillo is the largest living species of this group, and has 11 to 13 hinged bands protecting the body, and a further three or four on the neck. Its body is dark brown in colour, with a lighter, yellowish band running along the sides, and a pale, yellow-white head. These armadillos have around 80 to 100 teeth, which is more than any other mammal. They also possess

Giant Armadillo
Giant armadillo
Giant Armadillo in captivity.

Range

In tropical forests throughout Northen and Eastern South America.

Size

Weight: 28kgs (62lbs)

Length: 89 cm (35 in)

Diet

Mostly Termites but they will also eat ants, worms and other small inverterbrates.

Weapons and Traits

Has large powerful claws, has a protective shell which it can roll into.

Battle Status

On hold will compete against the Giant Anteater.

extremely long front claws, including a sickle-shaped third claw.

Armadillos have not been extensively studied in the wild; therefore, little is known about their natural ecology and behaviour. Giant armadillos are fairly solitary and nocturnal, spending the day in burrows. They also burrow to escape predators, being unable to completely roll into a protective ball. Giant armadillos use their large front claws to dig for prey and rip open termite mounds. The diet is mainly composed of termites, although ants, worms, spiders and other invertebrates are also eaten. Little is currently known about this species' reproductive biology, and no juveniles have ever been discovered in the field. The average sleep time of a captive giant armadillo is said to be 18.1 hours.

Hunted throughout its range, a single giant armadillo supplies a great deal of meat, and is the primary source of protein for some indigenous peoples. In addition, live giant armadillos are frequently captured for trade on the black market, and invariably die during transportation or in captivity.Despite this species’ wide range, it is locally rare, and is likely to be significantly impacted by the exploitation that is occurring. This is further exacerbated by habitat loss resulting from deforestation. Current estimates indicate the giant armadillo may have undergone a worrying population decline of 30 to 50 percent over the past three decades. Without intervention, this trend is likely to continue.

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