Rare zoo birth of armadillo in Minnesota

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 4, 2009 - 12:02 AM
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Newborns are about the size of a golf ball, but without the dimples.

A baby three-banded armadillo, weighing barely more than a McDonald's quarter-pounder, is the newest arrival at the Minnesota Zoo.

It is believed to be the third three-banded armadillo born in a U.S. zoo this year, officials at the zoo in Apple Valley said.

The baby, born Feb. 19, is staying close to its mother behind the scenes at the zoo, where its weight was recently taken: 4.6 ounces. Its public debut is expecteds this summer.

The Minnesota Zoo began exhibiting three-banded armadillos in 2005.

Three-banded armadillos are solitary mammals found in Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Because its numbers have decreased because of habitat destruction, it is now a protected species.

Zoo spokeswoman Kelly Lessard said the breed should not be confused with "regular" armadillos common in Texas and other Southern states. The nine-banded armadillo originated in South America and made its way to the United States in the 19th century.

PAUL WALSH

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