ETYM Spanish armadillo, dim. of armado armed, p. p. of armar to arm. So called from being armed with a bony shell.
Burrowing animal of S and Central America with bony armor, and able to roll into a ball for protection.Mammal of the family Dasypodidae, with an armor of bony plates on its back. Some 20 species live between Texas and Patagonia and range in size from the fairy armadillo at 13 cm/5 in to the giant armadillo, 1.5 m/4.5 ft long. Armadillos feed on insects, snakes, fruit, and carrion. Some can roll into an armored ball if attacked; others rely on burrowing for protection.
They belong to the order Edentata (“without teeth”) which also includes sloths and anteaters. However, only the latter are toothless. Some species of armadillos can have up to 90 peglike teeth.
Burrowing chiefly nocturnal mammal with body covered with strong horny plates.