Scientists document baby giant armadillo for first time

Despite weighing as much as full-grown human, almost nothing is known about the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) including its breeding and reproductive behaviors. How does mating occur? How long does pregnancy last? How many babes are typically born? Scientists are simply in the dark, but a ground-breaking study employing camera traps is beginning to change this. For the first time, scientists in the have documented breeding and the happy outcome: a baby giant armadillo (see video and more photos below).

“Being part of this exclusive moment in the history of this species conservation and seeing the first picture of a baby was one of the most exciting moments of my career as a wildlife professional,” said Danilo Kluyber, a wildlife veterinarian with The Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project.

Close-up baby in Baia des Pedras. Photo by: The Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project.

Close-up baby in Baia des Pedras. Photo by: The Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project.

Four week old baby giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) leaving the burrow for the first time with its mother. Footage taken at Fazenda Baia das Pedras, Pantanal, MS, Brazil.

Since July 2010, the Pantanal Project has successfully established the first long-term ecological study of giant armadillos at the Baía das Pedras Ranch in the Nhecolândia sub-region of the Brazilian Pantanal. The main goal of the project is to investigate the ecology and biology of the species and understand its function in the ecosystem using radio transmitters, camera traps, burrow surveys, resource monitoring, resource mapping and interviews. Today, there is virtually no information on giant armadillo reproduction. The species has never bred in captivity and no observations have ever been made in the wild. Acquiring reproductive information on the species is crucial to understanding its population dynamics and for any type of conservation planning for giant armadillos.


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