Can You Have an Armadillo as a Pet?
Armadillos, or Dasypus and Chlamyphoridae as they're scientifically known, are animals that belong to the Cingulata order. Their distinctive characteristic is a strong shell formed of bony plates, which is useful for fending off their natural predators and other dangers.
These animals can be found throughout across the Americas. Armadillos are so well adapted that they could already be found in the Pleistocene epoch, which started more than 2 million years ago. Therefore, armadillos are primitive animals. They shared the earth with giant armadillos or Glyptodons, which measured almost 3 meters - 9'10'' - long. Sadly, those went extinct in the last ice age.
These placental mammals are the only representatives of the Cingulata order that still exist today. Being so ancient and with their strange appearance makes armadillos especially fascinating animals. This AnimalWised article will answer the question "Can you have an armadillo as a pet?".
Is it legal to have a pet armadillo?
Having a pet armadillo is illegal. You need special permit to be able to keep an armadillo in captivity, and such a permit is not granted to anyone. They are only granted to specialized entities which are dedicated to the care and conservation of this beautiful and odd primitive animal.
One of the ways to legally adopt an armadillo in order to care for it is by holding an Animal Breeding License. Despite that, there are many countries with none or very few animal protection laws.
We at AnimalWised recommend that you don't endorse such practices, because animals such as the armadillo require a wild ecosystem to be able to survive and have a better life.
What is the life expectancy of an armadillo?
As with most animal species, an armadillo's life expectancy can be greatly increased if kept in captivity, as long as they are properly cared for and protected. Taking into account the range of different armadillo species that exist, these animals can live for 4 to 16 years on average in the wild.
This is more than enough time to raise awareness. Even with the possible increased life expectancy of an armadillo in captivity, you must take into account that these animals require specific care which can only be provided by a professional.
How to care for an armadillo
An armadillo should live in a place where the ground is aired and ventilated, which makes it possible to dig up. In addition, they need access to cool and shaded areas so that their hard shell can cool down. After all, armadillos are animals that live in holes in the ground. In captivity, it must be ensured that the armadillo can't dig its way out of its enclosure.
Armadillos prefer warm climates. They should never be kept in cold places, or places where the temperature drops overnight. They are opportunistic and omnivores up to an extent; armadillos eat roots, fruits and seeds, but they prefer insects and small amphibians. One of its favorite foods are ants.
They are carriers of different microorganisms which don't cause them any harm, such as certain protozoa. This issue can be treated by a vet with expertise in exotic animals, which is why not everybody can have one. Armadillos usually have their young in the spring.
The answer to "can you have an armadillo as a pet", then, is no, you can't. However, you might be able to keep an armadillo with a license if you're able to provide a proper enclosure, diet and veterinary care, which is why it's better to leave armadillos for specialists.
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