Difference Wiki

Armadillo vs. Anteater: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 13, 2024
Armadillos are armored mammals known for their distinctive shell, while anteaters are characterized by their elongated snouts and specialized diet of ants and termites.

Key Differences

Armadillos are small to medium-sized mammals with a bony armor shell, part of the order Cingulata. Anteaters, distinctively different, are known for their long snouts and belong to the order Pilosa. Both are native to the Americas but differ significantly in physical appearance.
The diet of an armadillo mainly includes insects, small vertebrates, and plant matter. Anteaters, as their name suggests, primarily feed on ants and termites, using their long, sticky tongues. While armadillos forage on a variety of foods, anteaters are specialized insectivores.
In terms of habitat, armadillos are versatile, inhabiting diverse environments like grasslands, rainforests, and semi-deserts. Anteaters, conversely, are mostly found in rainforest and grassland habitats. Their adaptations reflect their respective ecological niches.
Armadillos are known for their unique defense mechanism of rolling into a ball when threatened, a trait not seen in anteaters. Anteaters, lacking this armor, rely on their strong forelimbs and sharp claws for defense. These defense strategies highlight their evolutionary differences.
Reproduction in armadillos is also unusual, with some species capable of delayed implantation. Anteaters, on the other hand, have a more straightforward reproductive cycle. This distinction further underscores the biological differences between these two unique mammal groups.

Comparison Chart

Physical Characteristics

Armored with a bony shell.
Long snout and large, bushy tail.


Insects, small vertebrates, and plants.
Specialized diet of ants and termites.


Grasslands, rainforests, semi-deserts.
Mostly rainforests and grasslands.

Defense Mechanism

Can roll into a ball.
Use strong forelimbs and sharp claws.


Some species have delayed implantation.
Straightforward reproductive cycle.

Armadillo and Anteater Definitions


A small American mammal with a hard protective shell.
The armadillo curled up into a ball when approached.


A creature with strong claws for digging and defense.
The anteater dug into the termite mound effortlessly.


An animal known for its ability to withstand harsh environments.
Armadillos adapt well to various habitats.


A mammal with a long snout used to eat ants and termites.
The anteater used its long tongue to feed on an anthill.


Burrowing animal with body armor of bony plates.
Armadillos are often seen digging for food.


A toothless insectivore with a specialized diet.
Anteaters consume thousands of ants daily.


A nocturnal insectivore covered in armored scales.
At night, the armadillo searches for insects to eat.


A solitary mammal mostly found in tropical regions.
The solitary anteater roamed the rainforest floor.


Mammal capable of limited rolling up for defense.
The armadillo's ability to roll up is a unique defense.


An animal with a keen sense of smell for finding food.
The anteater sniffed out an ant colony hidden under leaves.


Any of various omnivorous burrowing mammals of the family Dasypodidae, native to southern North America and Central and South America and characterized by an armorlike covering consisting of jointed bony plates.


Any of several Central and South American mammals of the suborder Vermilingua that lack teeth and feed on ants and termites, especially the giant anteater.


Any of the burrowing mammals covered with bony, jointed, protective plates, order Cingulata, found in the Americas, especially in South America.


Any of several other animals, including the echidna, aardvark, and pangolin, that feed on ants.


Any edentate animal if the family Dasypidæ, peculiar to America. The body and head are incased in an armor composed of small bony plates. The armadillos burrow in the earth, seldom going abroad except at night. When attacked, they curl up into a ball, presenting the armor on all sides. Their flesh is good food. There are several species, one of which (the peba) is found as far north as Texas. See Peba, Poyou, Tatouay.


Burrowing chiefly nocturnal mammal with body covered with strong horny plates


Are anteaters aggressive animals?

Generally, anteaters are not aggressive unless threatened.

Are armadillos found worldwide?

No, armadillos are primarily found in the Americas.

Do anteaters have teeth?

No, anteaters do not have teeth.

Do armadillos have good eyesight?

No, armadillos have poor eyesight but good hearing and smell.

Are anteaters social animals?

Anteaters are mostly solitary except during mating or mothering.

What is the largest species of anteater?

The giant anteater is the largest species.

Are armadillos endangered?

Some armadillo species are endangered, but not all.

Can armadillos swim?

Yes, some armadillo species are good swimmers.

What habitats do anteaters prefer?

Anteaters typically inhabit rainforests, grasslands, and dry savannas.

Do armadillos carry diseases?

Armadillos can carry leprosy, but transmission to humans is rare.

How long is an anteater's tongue?

An anteater's tongue can be up to 2 feet long.

How many species of armadillos are there?

There are about 20 known species of armadillos.

Can armadillos climb?

Yes, some species of armadillos are capable climbers.

Do anteaters have a good sense of smell?

Yes, anteaters have an excellent sense of smell.

What is the lifespan of an armadillo?

Armadillos typically live between 7 to 20 years.

Can anteaters be kept as pets?

Anteaters are wild animals and not suitable as pets.

Do anteaters have any natural predators?

Jaguars and pumas are natural predators of anteaters.

Do armadillos hibernate?

No, armadillos do not hibernate but may become less active in cold.

How fast can an anteater move?

Anteaters can move surprisingly fast, especially when threatened.

Are armadillos noisy creatures?

Armadillos are generally quiet but can make grunting sounds.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons