Carnivorous, Corpse-Eating Armadillos?!

As if we don’t have enough to worry about nowadays, what with widespread wildfires, rampant inflation, a possible new wave of COVID, war in eastern Europe, and people gluing their hands to Starbucks counters, now comes a report of carnivorous armadillos that prey on lambs, calves, and other small and helpless mammals such as Danny DeVito. (Just kidding; I’m certain that DeVito can hold his own against scaly creatures.)

The Tetrapod Zoology blog has a pretty in-depth report on this phenomenon, including links to a couple of rather disturbing videos documenting this behavior. (Seriously…if you read the article — which you should because it’s fascinating — don’t click on the links to the videos if you possess a sensitive nature.) Not only are some species of armadillos foraging on live animals, they’re also dining on corpses.

Now, I’ve known for a long time that our lovable 9-banded armadillos, aka Dasypus novemcinctus aka the State Small Mammal of Texas, are omnivorous, meaning that they’ll eat pretty much anything they can stuff in their tiny little mouths. Alert Gazette readers will recall this post wherein I describe capturing on camera a marauding armadillo chowing down on a nest of turtle eggs.

Photo - Nine banded armadillo resting comfortably inside a trap
Relax. This one won’t eat your face. Probably.

Turtle eggs are one thing, though; baby livestock and wildlife, living or dead, is a whole other can of therapy material.

By the way, the nine-banded armadillo, in dramatic defiance of naming convention, refuses to be limited to nine bands; one can have from seven to eleven bands. But the “Seven-Eleven Banded Armadillo” presents obvious problems, primarily of a trademark nature.

The good news is that the bloodthirsty beasts are native to the South American continent and thus we’ll likely never cross paths except as fodder for nightmares or lame SyFy movie scripts. (Although, now that I think about it, Attack Of The Zombie Armadillos might make for a better flick than most of the standard SyFy fare, especially if they could convince Simon Pegg to play the lead.)


  1. My personal experiences with armadillos is limited to the Duck Races and cow chip tossing events in Fort Davis, Texas. One year they decided to race armadillos as well. Holding an armadillo was a very strange experience. I was holding them just before their races started. Armadillos don’t wait until a flag drops or until someone shouts “GO”. While holding them they just keep their legs running until you place them on the ground where they spin out and take off. Much the way I do in the mornings. (OK, I apologize for that last comment. I hardly ever spin out in the mornings. My apologies to any offended armadillos as well.)

  2. Norman, we’ve had a couple of dogs who exhibited a similar behavior when we held them over water…they would start paddling in the air, whether or not we put them in the water.

    So, the resided the question: do you do the same thing?

  3. Everyone in our family collected something so they would get various versions of the collected item at Christmas. I collected owls, stuffed and ceramic, so I now have hundreds of owls from well-meaning friends. Mike never collected anything so his mom did not know what to get him for Christmas. She decided that Mike must like armadillos since he is a true Texan, and she needed something to find for Christmas. Now he has armadillo belt buckles, shirts, needle point armadillo tree ornaments, etc! I enjoyed your blog today because it made me remember Mike saying, “Where did she get the idea that I liked armadillos?”

    1. Tell Mike that he might as well accept his role as the Armadillo Whisperer because once y’all get here, you may have a lot of opportunities to commune with them!

      We do have the occasional owl, so you won’t be left out, Audrey.

Comments are closed.