The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium welcomed twin Six-banded Armadillos on November 17.
The mother, Dilla, gave birth to one male and one female offspring, which weighed 110 grams each. Baby Armadillos grow fast – by the time they were five weeks old, each baby weighed about 500 grams! Their father, Marty, is in a separate holding area, giving Dilla room to nurse and care for the babies. The babies will be weaned from their mother at 90 days old, and they will eventually move to another facility accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).
Armadillos are known for the armor-like plates that cover their bodies and heads. These bony plates protect Armadillos from predators – only their soft, furry bellies are vulnerable to attack.
Six-banded Armadillos are native to the southern half of South America, where they roam grasslands and open plains in search of fruits and leaves.
The 2014 AZA Studbook for Six-Banded Armadillos, kept at the Dallas Zoo, states that there are only 23 individuals at 15 institutions (of which 14 are AZA institutions). The Museum & Aquarium holds two of those 23 individual adults as well as the two newborns.
Though they are not considered endangered, Six-banded Armadillos are extensively hunted for meat and medicinal use.