Giant Armadillo Project

The giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) is the largest species of armadillo and is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Native to South America, their numbers are in decline due to hunting and habitat loss.

We have been partnering with the Giant Armadillo Project since it began in 2011. Prior to the Giant Armadillo Project little was known about the species due to their low population densities and elusive behaviours. This long-term ecological study aims to investigate the ecology and biology of the species and understand its function in the ecosystem.

The project was first initiated in the Brazilian Pantanal, expanding to the Cerrado in 2015. The project uses a variety of methods to obtain information on these elusive animals, including radio tracking, camera trap monitoring, burrow surveys and resource mapping.

The project has documented the important role of giant armadillos as ecosystem engineers, established home ranges for 10 individuals and collected information on health, diet, reproduction and communication.

Although the primary focus of the project is on the giant armadillo, it also encompasses other species. An epidemiological study of the four other species of armadillos is currently underway to assess the prevalence of diseases which are of importance to human health. An ecological study of giant anteaters is also being conducted to obtain information for a comparative study with giant armadillos and provide baseline information on their behaviour.

Project partners

ICAS

Key Facts

50kg
Giant armadillos can reach up to 150cm and weigh up to 50 kilograms
30%
Populations have declined by at least 30% in the last 25 years
By excavating their burrows Giant armadillos are considered ecosystem engineers as they create new habitats for other species

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