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Daily nutrition requirements for armadillos

Anteaters, Armadillos, Aardvarks, Tenrec, Aardwolf, ect

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Daily nutrition requirements for armadillos

Postby suki'smom » Fri May 22, 2009 10:48 am

I googled the daily nutrition requirements for armadillos and really didn't find much. I know what foods make up what percentages of their diet but I was hoping for something more specific so I can replicate a homemade diet as closely as possible.
Also if you could help me with the daily nutrition requirements of the virginia opossum it would also be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!
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Postby TamanduaGirl » Fri May 22, 2009 8:21 pm

Their aren't any. If there were there would be armadillo kibble. It would take all kinds of testing over years even decades to know exact requirements for daily intake for health. A static diet isn't a good idea anyway(like the same kibble and treats every day for life. The wild daily diet will vary a lot by season and even day by day based on what they can find.

What you need to look for is nutritional analysis of stomach contents of armadillos(and look by species name, there are several species. I took the nutritional analysis of the stomach contents of tamanduas and made my diet match that as best I could. It was A LOT of work but doing so made a huge difference. OTOH the study was done over two months and only a handful of tamanduas and you know exactly what nutrients they are getting varies seasonally. So again a good guide but we don't know that it's perfect. It helps identify some obvious problems with traditional kibble diets, like to much A ect.

On paper daily values sound nice but in reality a diet isn't and shouldn't be balanced daily constantly but over time. I do make a month worth of Pua's food up at a time but vary it a bit each time and her treats help with it not being to static plus her finding her own bugs during the nice weather. A bit of variety and ups and downs can help level out any off bits if they aren't to drastically off.
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Postby suki'smom » Fri May 22, 2009 8:55 pm

I have found commercial armadillo food but I didn't really want to feed that as, like you said, would get boring and may not even be nutritionally complete. I believe it was made by some brand called Mazuri?

They are just both very complex little critters and I wanted to try and create some nutritionally accurate recipes to feed them. Of course interchanging the different diets and foods to keep things interesting. It is only about a month and a half before I get them and I want to have some frozen food prepaired for their arrival (but of course I will not prepaire it too soon).

I like your recipes but I also wanted to try my hand at making some of my own and maybe we could exchange things that I find the dillos like to see if Pua likes the recipe too. I also did not want to make a recipe that would not be good for them or that was lacking something critical.

I will look up the nutritional analysis of stomach contents, I looked up just the stomach contents but never the nutritional analysis, thank you for that. I want my new babies to be as comfortable as I can possibly make them.

Also I am guessing that it is probably not a good idea to spay or neuter an armadillo, am I correct?
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Postby TamanduaGirl » Fri May 22, 2009 10:20 pm

I wouldn't spay or neuter unless medically necessary for some reason. They need the vit K to keep them from bleeding like anteaters do and then with anteaters they can still be prone to bleeding being an issue when they become ill. So that alone makes it extra scary but then I would think armadillos would also heal more slowly than most mammals.
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Postby suki'smom » Sat May 23, 2009 12:47 pm

Yeah that is what I figured. Thank you
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Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon May 25, 2009 10:26 pm

Try adding study to the search terms and make sure you look on sites that have academic/scientific papers published like pub/med ect.
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Postby mobayrasta » Mon May 25, 2009 10:33 pm

Mazuri makes good stuff.
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Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue May 26, 2009 12:43 am

If you consider cheap supermarket kibble loaded with chemicals known to cause cancer good, then yeah. Mazuri is made by Purina and does have cancer causing chemicals in it, also known to cause renal problems. Loaded with fillers like corn. One "insectivore" diet pushed as suitable for anteaters(prone to tumors), dillos, hedgehogs ect ect. With as far as I know, no real research behind it. It is high in vit A which Tamanduas need hardly any of. Tamanduas also need a much lower Ca:phos ratio than other animals. Tamanduas feed these kibble sin zoos are now suffering spinal lesions due to avitaminosis. But they don't care about the nutritional needs of species varying they just want to make a buck selling the cheapest food they can make and not have animals die.

Sorry couldn't think of any nice way to say that.
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Postby suki'smom » Tue May 26, 2009 1:22 am

Ok, I will try adding those words. I'm having a hard time finding much...

As far as Mazuri, I have heard contradicting things. I do feed Purina sometimes but I like Dr's Foster and Smith much better. They have little to no fillers and a good quality.

Do you recommend any brands? What brand of cat food do you use in Pua's feed?
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Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue May 26, 2009 4:18 am

I don't use cat food in Pua's food. I use the raw beef diet. The others are there for education. I did use some at times like when we traveled and before Pua decided she likes beef. The problem is they are all high in vit A(retinol). I did buy Evo in Canada, I've used Nature's Varriety for the dogs and have used chicken soup for the dog or cat lover's soul.

There is a huge difference in her weight and over all looks and health between when she was on other food and once she got on beef mix and got it all worked out with heart added.
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Postby suki'smom » Tue May 26, 2009 9:43 am

I don't use cat food in Pua's food

Oh I'm sorry, I thought you still did. Makes sense that you don't though.

Ok so cat food is not ok, got it.

I'm a little worried that I wont be able to get my new dillo to eat, and a long trip (about 30 hours) in transportation may put off it's appetite even more. Do you have any suggestions to try to get it to eat?

I looked up some studies and many said that a small percentage of dillos did not acclimate to captivity and...well...died. My luck, my dillo will be one of those in the small percent. Is there anything that I can do to help it along adjusting to captivity. Did Pua have any problems adjusting? I'm hoping to get a young one, that is why I am going in July when the babies are starting to be weaned. Hopefully this will help the little thing to adjust.
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Postby mobayrasta » Tue May 26, 2009 9:49 am

HyzenthlayForesight wrote:If you consider cheap supermarket kibble loaded with chemicals known to cause cancer good, then yeah. Mazuri is made by Purina and does have cancer causing chemicals in it, also known to cause renal problems. Loaded with fillers like corn. One "insectivore" diet pushed as suitable for anteaters(prone to tumors), dillos, hedgehogs ect ect. With as far as I know, no real research behind it. It is high in vit A which Tamanduas need hardly any of. Tamanduas also need a much lower Ca:phos ratio than other animals. Tamanduas feed these kibble sin zoos are now suffering spinal lesions due to avitaminosis. But they don't care about the nutritional needs of species varying they just want to make a buck selling the cheapest food they can make and not have animals die.

Sorry couldn't think of any nice way to say that.


You are so darn brash. I want to like you but I just can't, your remarks are always so very rude and self rightous. I can't believe you are a moderator here. You are very one sided about everything. You are the final word. Get over yourself!

Mazuri is used by almost all zoo's in some capacity. I am sorry about your hate for purina and mazuri. Mazuri has helped a lot of people over the years. They have diets for about any exotic, from armadillos to tigers. Not everyone has as much time or is as talented as you to know what their animals need. Mazuri has always been there to provide a basic diet. No one food should be fed to any animal, but as a good staple I have to disagree with you. Your almost as bad as PETA in your stubborn way.

I am sorry if my comments offend but I am sick and tired of your pushiness in every thread. It is unbelievable. Maybe I am the only one who feels this way but I really doubt it..
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Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue May 26, 2009 2:35 pm

I'd be curious about the study. Did they do autopsies? Coming from the wild they could have had underlying problems already though I know some species like the pygmy anteater just don't adjust to captivity. They seem fairly popular to keep but I do know there is a long way to go still in their care, since they do not breed well in captivity and that usually is an indication that something isn't being done quite right.

It took Pua several days before she took anything to eat but that seems to be fairly normal for tamanduas, they have slow metabolisms, but Pua was also sick. Stewie was ready to eat right out of the box at the airport and was so excited about his orange he drew blood from grabbing tight. He was born in captivity and young.

Armadillos have a higher metabolism than anteaters. Beef should be fairly palatable. They sprinkle ground beef on the termite mounds with tamanduas in South America to wean them onto a captive diet. Apparently beef tastes like termites. You could try mixing some beef with meal worms or wax worms so it can get the taste of it, maybe try some mixed in dirt since they are used to rooting for their food. I don't think they are as picky as anteater but I'll ask my friend that rehabs them if she has any problems and if she has any tips. Since it will be young you could also try so puppy or kitten milk mixed with some food. Pua like that at first then grew out of it. Short term that will be okay.
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Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue May 26, 2009 3:12 pm

Moby you claim it is my tone you didn't like. Fine as I said I could not think of a nice way to say the food is no good for these animals. I know Pat feeds and like Purina and we have never argued about it but I have expressed my opinions on the board. It appears the real problem is that I disagreed with you since you still defend the food.

Lots of dogs live good long lives on store bought kibble including my first dog(though she did have really messed up liver and kidneys at the end). So if you want to feed Mazuri to a fox it would be about the same. Not the best choice in my opinion but up to you. I would still inform of what I see the draw backs as in case you didn't know then it is up to you.

However, you came into a conversation and said to feed Mazuri to a dillo.

Fact the same insectivore diet is marketed for pretty much anything that eats insects. In fact they market it for any insect eating mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian. They do specifically mention anteater and armadillos on their site. Mazuri claims - "Designed to be complete and balanced for insectivores - No supplementation necessary". I can't believe the one food is a good diet for that many different species but lets stick to facts.


Fact to much Retinol(vit A) causes painful and debilitating spinal lesions in tamanduas over time. One poor tamandua they came to me seeking help for had it's tail curled up in agony and the tail and rear were basically paralyzed curled up like this. She had to be put down.

Fact many Zoo anteater are coming down with this same condition in zoos feeding the Mazuri based diets

Fact Mazuri insectivore has 15 thousand IU of Retinol, way way to much for tamanduas and a safe bet to say more than armadillos need.

Fact even most zoos that do feed Mazuri to their anteaters do not feed insectivore fare but feed a mixture of leaf eater monkey biscuits and cat/feline food. Why is that if Mazuri is so great? Why not use to food market for the anteater instead?

No not everyone wants to do years of research before getting their animal or always would need to or can since sometimes animals do just drop in their laps. I have helped many people who have rescued orphaned and injured tamanduas in Mexico and South America. So yes the unexpected can happen. That is why I have tried to put the information out there for people and always answer any questions on their care that are asked.

I admit I am actually quite stupid and that is why I had to do a lot of research on their diet in the first place and I do listen to others suggestions. I had a good bit of help in finalizing Pua's diet when A friend who got a tamandua kept asking questions that I had to find answers too and we worked out the best diet together that way. It was great to have someone looking at things from a different angle.

I also admit I do not know as much about armadillos as anteaters and that is why I am suggesting she do her own research.

Again I don't know how to say it nicely. This is not a disagreement about the best food. Mazuri is outright BAD for tamanduas and armadillos(who are in the same family and have very similar diets).
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Postby suki'smom » Tue May 26, 2009 7:24 pm

I'd be curious about the study. Did they do autopsies? Coming from the wild they could have had underlying problems already though I know some species like the pygmy anteater just don't adjust to captivity.


I will try to see if I can find those particular studies again, I found them a few weeks ago when looking up Leprosy in armadillos. I don't believe they did necropsies (autopsies are for people ;) ), I never thought that they could have already existing health issues, that makes me feel a little better as my dillo will be checked by an exotic vet with experience with dillos before I leave the state of Florida.

Armadillos have a higher metabolism than anteaters. Beef should be fairly palatable. They sprinkle ground beef on the termite mounds with tamanduas in South America to wean them onto a captive diet. Apparently beef tastes like termites. You could try mixing some beef with meal worms or wax worms so it can get the taste of it, maybe try some mixed in dirt since they are used to rooting for their food. I don't think they are as picky as anteater but I'll ask my friend that rehabs them if she has any problems and if she has any tips. Since it will be young you could also try so puppy or kitten milk mixed with some food. Pua like that at first then grew out of it. Short term that will be okay.


Ok, I was also thinking beef and kitten milk. Do you think honey would be ok to try?

I also admit I do not know as much about armadillos as anteaters and that is why I am suggesting she do her own research.


I understand this and have been doing alot of research. It is just nice to have someone to talk with that has experience with this particular family of animals and exchange opinions and ideas. Also not all the information I have found is exactly accurate.
Last edited by suki'smom on Wed May 27, 2009 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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