The La Plata Three-banded Armadillo is 8.5 to 11 in. long and its tail adds another 2-3 in. The rough, thick and heavily armored shell or carapace accounts for only 16% of the body weight. The animal has two large shells, front and back, with three, and occasionally two or four, moveable bands in between. This species can curl into a ball and completely enclose their bodies into protective shells about the size of a large grapefruit. While predators cannot open them, man can easily pick them up. Apparently this species does not dig holes, but utilizes the abandoned burrows of anteaters.
They run rapidly, with a peculiar gait, only the tips of the foreclaws touching the ground. They are diurnal and run through the grass with arched back, sniffing and scraping as they go. They are rather noisy, making hissing, breathing sounds and roll into a ball when frightened.