Difference Between Armadillo and Pangolin


Main Difference

The main difference between Armadillo and Pangolin is that Armadillo is a family of mammals, whereas Pangolin is an order of mammals.

Armadillo vs. Pangolin

Armadillo is a placental mammal, whereas pangolin is a mammal. Armadillos are bigger mammals. On the other hand, pangolins are smaller than armadillos. The average size of an armadillo ranges from 5 to 59 inches in length. Conversely, the average weight of a pangolin is between 12 to 39 inches.

The average weight of an armadillo ranges from 3 to 119 pounds. Conversely, the average weight of a pangolin ranges from 4 to 40 pounds. A typical armadillo consists of a rigid bony shell on its shoulders and hips, while a pangolin’s body is fully covered with flat, leaf-like, sharp plates that give pangolins a scaly appearance.


Armadillos are defined as terrestrial beings spending their whole life on the solid ground. On the flip side, pangolins live in the tree holes. When endangered, armadillos dig burrows and hide under the ground. Conversely, pangolins curl their body into a roll and expose their sharp plates to protect themselves when attacked.

Armadillos eat grubs, and small invertebrates present abundantly on the solid ground. Conversely, pangolins pierce the bark of the trees to find their food, i.e., insects and larvae. The total duration of pregnancy in an armadillo is about 60 to 120 days, whereas the total duration of pregnancy in pangolins lasts 120 to 150 days.

A female armadillo of genus Dasypus gives birth to quadruplets, which are four genetically identical babies. On the contrary, the female pangolin generally gives birth to 1 to 3 babies.


Comparison Chart

The family of mammals is called armadillo.The order of mammals is called pangolin.
Type of Mammal
Placental mammalMammal
Live In
America onlyAsia and Africa
Warm or temperate habitatsTropical habitats
Skin Covering
Rigid bony shieldLarge keratin scales
Way of Living
Stays inside burrowsCurls into a ball on the ground
Ants and invertebratesAnts
5 to 59 inches12 to 39 inches
3 to 119 pounds4 to 40 pounds
Protective Shell
Rigid bony shell on shoulders and hipsFlat, leaf-like, sharp plates or scales
Pregnancy Duration
60 to 120 days120 to 150 days
Babies Produced
Four genetically identical babies called quadruplets1 to 3

What is Armadillo?

The most forfeiting feature of an armadillo lies in its hard body shell, which protects it from harsh environmental conditions as well as predators. The whole body of an armadillo is covered with a bony shell, which may be present in various colors, i.e., dark brown, red, grey, black, yellowish, and pinkish colors.

Most armadillos have been eradicated from the world due to hunting and habitat loss. In South America, 19 types of armadillos are still present. The natural habitats of armadillos are rainforests, semi-arid, and grassland regions.

Whenever armadillos feel themselves in danger, they hide their body by curling themselves into a ball shape. Different species of armadillos have different instincts toward predators. Some dig the hole, and some run to escape from the weird predators.

Armadillos have long claws and strong legs that enable them to dig tunnels for their survival. An armadillo can repose about 16 to 18 hours a day inside these tunnels. The food on which their survival depends includes small insects, eggs, roots, baby birds, and fruit, etc.

Armadillos have a long and sticky tongue, which assist them in hunting the termites, ants, beetles, and other insects. Armadillos are capable enough to handle fire ant or any deadly ant easily with the help of its adhesive tongue.

The mating season for armadillos is July, and female armadillos become pregnant in November. The pregnancy period for armadillo is 60 to 120 days after which quadruplets are born.

What is Pangolin?

The most distinguishing feature of pangolins is their sharp and narrow nose with their sticky mucosal tongue, which captures all the ants and other insects easily. Pangolins do not have specified enemies. They are equally endangered by hunters that attack them for their meat, scales, and skin.

Pangolins shred the yaps of the trees to catch the insects and creepy-crawlies beneath. Pangolins tend to live in forested regions. Pangolins have their characteristic feature of leaf-like, sharp, and piercing scales resembling pine cones.

When endangered, pangolins turn themselves into balls, and their outer shells protect them against predators and hunters. Some species of pangolins chose living inside the tree holes, while others prefer living inside the tunnels inside the earth.

The gestation or pregnancy period for pangolins is 120 to 150 days, after which 1 to 3 babies may bear. Pangolins are more prominent, heavier, and more intelligent as compared to armadillos. They have small conical heads and jaws that are deprived of teeth.

Pangolins have impaired vision. Therefore, pangolins sense their prey as well as a danger through their smell. The last pair of the rib is also connected with it. The length of the tongue of a pangolin is nearly partial to the length of its head and body.

The stomach of a pangolin is muscular enough with keratinous spines pointing toward its interior. The limbs of pangolins are sturdy and stout enough to dig the burrows and pierce the tree’s barks easily. Pangolins can run wildly fast and are also capable of swimming.

Key Differences

  1. Armadillo is a family of mammal, whereas pangolin is the order of mammal.
  2. Armadillo is a placental mammal, whereas pangolin is a typical mammal.
  3. Armadillos live in the Americas, including North and South America only. On the other hand, pangolins are present in Asia and Africa.
  4. Armadillos love being in warm or temperate habitats. Conversely, pangolins love being in tropical climates.
  5. Armadillos are covered by rigid bony shields. On the flip side, pangolins are covered by leaf-like, sharp, characteristic scales.
  6. Armadillos protect themselves either by their rigid body shields or by staying in burrows. On the contrary, pangolins protect themselves by turning into rolls and pointing their scales toward their enemies.
  7. Armadillos are larger mammals, whereas pangolins are smaller mammals.
  8. Armadillos range in length from 5 to 59 inches. In contrast, pangolins range from 12 to 39 inches in length.
  9. The average weight of an armadillo lies between 3 to 119 pounds. Conversely, the average weight of a pangolin lies between 4 to 40 pounds.
  10. Armadillos live on small insects, eggs, roots, fruits, carrion, and baby birds, etc. On the flip side, pangolins live on ants and small insects.
  11. Female armadillos produce four genetically identical babies from a single egg, which are called quadruplets. On the other hand, female pangolins produce 1 to 3 babies from a single egg.
  12. The gestation period or pregnancy duration for an armadillo is about 60 to 120 days. On the contrary, the average gestation period for a pangolin is about 120 to 150 days.
  13. The mating process of armadillos occurs in July, and the pregnancy happens in November. On the other hand, pangolins being the solitary mammals meet once a year for mating through the urine or feces of male pangolin.
  14. Armadillo is a nocturnal mammal, which is mostly active during the night and rests during the day in deep burrows. Conversely, pangolins are semi-nocturnal, which means they may be active during the day or the night.


Armadillos being best climbers and swimmers, are capable of their protection by rigid body shields. Conversely, pangolins being bigger and brainy than armadillos are capable of their defense through their sharp scales.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson