A generally solitary species, the southern long-nosed armadillo’s activity period appears to vary according to external factors, such as season, temperature and hunting pressure. For example in protected areas, this species may be active during the day, while in some areas where it is hunted, it appears to only emerge at dusk (6). After emerging from its underground burrow, the southern long-nosed armadillo commences foraging, shuffling along the ground, emitting snuffles and grunts, as it attempts to locate food with its excellent sense of smell (2) (3) (5). Indeed, it has been reported by hunters of this species that it may be so engrossed in its search that when standing still, the southern long-nosed armadillo may sometimes bump into their legs. When alarmed however, this species will run towards the nearest burrow or, if one is not accessible, will pull in its extremities and curl its body to protect its vulnerable underparts (4). The southern long-nosed armadillo mainly feeds upon invertebrates, which it locates by digging shallow holes or, in the case of ants and termites, by tearing open mounds with its powerful foreclaws (5).
Breeding is seasonal, commencing around March (6), with most births taking place in October (5). Like other armadillos in the genus Dasypus, the southern long-nosed armadillo exhibits a remarkable reproductive trait known as obligate polyembryony, which means that it always produces a set of genetically identical offspring (3). This remarkable litter of usually eight to twelve, same-sex clones (6) occurs because the female produces only a single egg, which after fertilisation divides into separate embryos (3). Dasypus species armadillos are the only vertebrates known to exhibit this trait, which is believed to be an adaptation to overcome a restriction in the female’s reproductive system in which there is only space for one egg prior to implantation in the womb (3). After birth, the litter is raised in a chamber at the end of a long burrow, which is lined with dried grass (2).