Figure 1. I encountered this Six-banded Armadillo about 100 m from my house, when it moved through the caatinga vegetation, making so much noise in the dry leaves on the ground that one could easily track its position without seeing it. A little later, it came into the open to cross the path on which I was walking, and that's when I made the photo. In the following weeks, I repeatedly noted an Armadillo, possibly the same individual, around the same location, and I eventually saw it followed by a single young. The young did run directly behind the adult, and the adult stopped when the small one could not follow fast enough. I somehow had the impression that the young was nearly blind. If I remember correctly, it did even bump into the adult (I presume its mother) once or twice. This would be compatible with the description in Eisenberg and Redford 1999: "... Euphractus are active, alert animals with poor eyesight, and they locate food by smell."(p. 107)
Euphractus sexcinctus is one of the typical mammals of the Caatinga, and one of the main games ("caças"). Armadillo hunting is a popular activity, and it is actually amazing that the species is still relatively common. Hunters locate the "peba" with the help of dogs, and dig the poor animal out of its burrow, with pickaxes or hoes. The pits made to reach the Armadillo in its refuge are quite big, often more than a meter deep, and can still be seen years, or even decades, later. The Six-banded is sometimes kept in captivity, where it is fed all sorts of left-overs, and can become very fat.
In Mãe-da-lua reserve, there are some areas with soft soil, where many armadillo burrows can be seen. I did not notice any traces of armadillo hunting since we bought the property in 2006, and hopefully, the numbers of these animals are now on the increase,To top of page