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Home » Blog » A Guide to Keeping Armadillos as Pets

A Guide to Keeping Armadillos as Pets

armadillo as a pet

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on caring for your armadillo pet! Armadillos are fascinating creatures that make unique and intriguing pets. You may be wondering: can you have a pet armadillo? Can you own an armadillo legally? Here, you’ll discover that caring for these armored mammals requires special attention to their unique needs. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to ensure your armadillo companion lives a happy and healthy life.

Understanding Armadillos

can you have a pet armadillo

Before discussing the specifics of armadillo care, it's essential to understand these animals' natural behaviors and habitats. Armadillos are small—to medium-sized mammals known for their distinctive armor-like shell. They belong to the order Cingulata and are native to the Americas, with various species found throughout North, Central, and South America.

Armadillos are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are most active during the night. They have poor eyesight but compensate with a keen sense of smell and hearing. In the wild, armadillos primarily feed on insects, grubs, and other small invertebrates found in the soil.

Choosing the Right Armadillo Species

Before getting started, let’s clarify something: an armadillo as a pet is a very unusual choice, as such, keeping one can be quite challenging. If you plan to bring an armadillo into your home, it's crucial to research and choose the right species for your lifestyle and environment. 

Some common species kept as pets include the nine-banded armadillo and the three-banded armadillo. Each species has its own unique characteristics and requirements, so be sure to select one that aligns with your capabilities and preferences.

Creating a Suitable Habitat

Still asking yourself what else you need so you can have an armadillo as a pet? One of the most critical aspects of armadillo care is providing a suitable habitat that mimics their natural environment. Armadillos require a spacious enclosure with plenty of room to roam and explore. Substrate is essential for burrowing, so provide a mix of soil and sand for your armadillo to dig in.

Temperature and humidity levels are also crucial factors to consider. Armadillos prefer warm, humid environments, so maintain a temperature range of 75-85°F (24-29°C) and a humidity level of 70-80%. Use a heat lamp or ceramic heat emitter to regulate temperature, especially if you live in a colder climate.

Diet and Nutrition

can you own an armadillo

A balanced diet is essential for your armadillo's health and well-being. In the wild, armadillos primarily feed on insects and small invertebrates, so it's essential to replicate this diet in captivity. Feed your pet armadillo a varied diet consisting of insects, mealworms, earthworms, and commercially available insectivore diets.

Supplement their diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, berries, and leafy greens. Provide clean, fresh water at all times, preferably in a shallow dish that's easily accessible to your armadillo.

Handling and Interaction

While armadillos can be fascinating pets, they are not typically suited for frequent handling. These animals are naturally shy and solitary, so they may become stressed or defensive when handled excessively. However, gentle handling and interaction can help build trust and strengthen the bond between you and your armadillo.

When handling your armadillo, approach them calmly and avoid sudden movements. Allow them to come to you on their terms and respect their boundaries. Never grab or restrain your armadillo forcefully, as this can cause them distress and lead to defensive behavior.

Healthcare and Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for monitoring your armadillo's health and detecting any potential issues early on. Find a veterinarian experienced in exotic animal care who can provide routine examinations and medical care as needed.

Keep an eye out for signs of illness or distress, such as changes in appetite, lethargy, or abnormal behavior. If you notice any concerning symptoms, seek veterinary attention promptly to ensure your armadillo receives proper treatment.

Enriching Your Armadillo's Environment

In addition to providing a suitable habitat and nutritious diet, enriching your armadillo's environment to promote physical and mental stimulation is essential. Enrichment activities help prevent boredom and encourage natural behaviors, leading to a happier and healthier pet.

Provide opportunities for digging and burrowing by offering deep substrate and hiding places within the enclosure. You can create tunnels or burrows using PVC pipes, logs, or cardboard boxes for your armadillo to explore and nest in. Scatter food throughout the enclosure to encourage foraging behavior and stimulate their natural instincts.

Introduce toys and interactive objects to keep your armadillo entertained. Choose toys that are safe and durable, such as balls, tunnels, or puzzle feeders. Rotate toys regularly to prevent boredom and maintain your armadillo's interest.

Monitoring and Observation

An armadillo for a pet is an unusual choice that requires you to regularly observe its behavior and habits to identify any changes or potential issues. Take time to observe your pet during both active and resting periods to ensure they are behaving normally and are not showing signs of stress or illness.

Keep a log or journal to track your armadillo's eating habits, activity levels, and any notable behaviors. This can help you identify patterns and detect any deviations from their usual routine, allowing you to address any concerns promptly.

Maintaining a Clean Environment

armadillo pet legal

A clean and hygienic environment is essential for your armadillo's health and well-being. Regularly clean and disinfect the enclosure to remove waste and bacteria buildup. Replace soiled substrate and bedding as needed to prevent odors and maintain a fresh environment.

Provide a designated bathing area for your armadillo to help them maintain proper hygiene. Armadillo pets may enjoy soaking in shallow water or dust baths, so offer a shallow dish or tray filled with clean water or fine sand for them to use as needed.

Calling Critter Stop for Armadillo Removal

If you’re still wondering if you can own an armadillo, let’s clarify the situation: legally speaking, this small mammal is the official animal of Texas. While there are no laws prohibiting you from keeping one at home, there are laws against keeping them for sale. Having an armadillo at home is a risky choice. 

Hell, you may not want armadillos as pets at all! If you find yourself facing issues with armadillos on your property, whether it's unwanted guests or conflicts with local wildlife ordinances, consider reaching out to Critter Stop for humane wildlife removal services. 

Critter Stop has a fantastic reputation, and customer reviews online because it provides high-quality work and great customer service. By entrusting your armadillo removal needs to Critter Stop, you can ensure the safety of both your property and the wildlife involved. Just give them a call at (214) 234-2616 for a free inspection!


You reached this final section asking yourself: can I have a pet armadillo? As long as you understand that caring for an armadillo pet requires commitment, patience, and a deep understanding of their unique needs, you should have no problems. You can ensure your armadillo companion thrives in captivity by providing suitable habitat, a balanced diet, enrichment activities, and regular veterinary care.

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Lee Gorman
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