Southern Three-Banded Armadillo
With the 2010 Fédération Internationale de Football Association’s World Cup kicking off June 11 in South Africa, animals—and their keepers—at the National Zoo’s Small Mammal House got into the soccer spirit in Washington, D.C. Keepers developed a series of animal-enrichment activities for golden lion tamarins, slender-tailed meerkats, naked mole rats, three-banded armadillos, banded mongooses and prehensile-tailed porcupines. Enrichment activities provide physically and mentally stimulating environments to the animals that give them opportunities to use their natural abilities and behaviors. The animals demonstrated their athleticism by running around cones, climbing into cleats and playing with soccer balls covered in peanut butter. The animals can be seen in the Small Mammal House daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Photo credit: Mehgan Murphy/Smithsonian’s National Zoo