Rica the three-banded armadillo has become the first of any armadillo species to be born at Edinburgh Zoo since it first opened more than a century ago.

Weighing only 81g at birth and the same size as a golf ball, the fast-growing female has quadrupled in weight in her first month.

Rica’s parents arrived at the zoo in March 2014 a part of efforts to raise awareness of the species by taking part in the zoo’s educational shows.

The three-banded armadillo is native to Brazil and is one of just two species of armadillo that can roll into a ball. It is estimated the species has suffered a 30% decline in the past decade.

Gareth Bennett, senior presentations keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “This is the first birth of any armadillo species at Edinburgh Zoo and it is amazing how quickly little Rica is growing up.

“She is just amazing to watch; always full of energy and scurrying about her surroundings like a perfectly formed miniature of a fully grown three-banded armadillo.

“For her first few weeks she could not quite roll up into a perfect ball because of her huge claws and softer, smaller shell, but she has now grown into her shell and can quickly pack herself into the tightly sealed ball that adult three-banded armadillos are known for.

“When she first arrived at Edinburgh Zoo it did not take long for mum Rio to come out of her shell. However, after a few months, we noticed a slight change in her bodyweight and a few scratch marks on her back. Putting two and two together we investigated with an ultrasound and were able to make out a peanut-sized little armadillo shape.”

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of