Screaming hairy armadillo pups welcomed at New Orleans zoo

The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans welcomed a rare set of twins recently – screaming hairy armadillo pups – the first such births in North America since 2018. 

Birkenstock and Teva, named after shoes as part of a "family tradition," were born to mom Dillo and dad Chaco, according to a news release. Chaco is separated from the pups while their mom cares for them. After they’re fully weaned and independent, they’ll move to new homes and start families of their own, the zoo said. 

The screaming hairy armadillo babies are eating solid foods including bugs, fruits and vegetables. This species can go a long time without drinking water, they typically get all the moisture they need from plants they eat.


Screaming hairy armadillo pups born at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans (Audubon Nature Institute)

Screaming hairy armadillos are native to South America – Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. They’re considered a cultural symbol of the Bolivian highlands, according to the Atlanta Zoo. 

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"They are often found building homes in sand dunes where they are easily able to dig," the Atlanta Zoo explains on its website. 

As the name suggests, they have hair covering part of their bodies and they let out a "loud-pitched squeal" if they feel threatened.

They typically weigh less than 2 pounds. 

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The species is threatened because their meat is a food source in their native range, and their shells are used to make musical instruments.