S2 E13: Arnaud Desbiez


Charles and Jon talk to Whitley Award-winning conservationist Arnaud Desbiez, from his home in the Brazilian Pantanal. Since 2010, Arnaud and his team have been studying one of the planet’s most iconic and secretive animals: the Giant Armadillo. Very little was known about this magnificent mammal before their work began and the more the project uncovers the more we understand just how important a role this species plays in the ecosystems it inhabits. Arnaud talks about the challenges both Giant Armadillos – and Giant Armadillo researchers – face. We learn about Giant Armadillos dedication as parents, their longevity and why their burrows have earned the nickname “Hotel Armadillo”.


Hotel Armadillo, an episode in the BBC’s Natural World series, featured Arnaud’s research on the armadillos. Here is more information on Arnaud’s other project: Giant Anteaters & Highways. And this is a report of Jon’s 2013 trip when he first met Arnaud, Isobel and Daisy.

Baias das Pedras, the beautiful hotel & fazenda that is the Giant Armadillo research base camp now have their own website. You can also arrange to visit there through local guides like Regina Ribeiro, who was a guest on this podcast in 2022 (S1 E20).

Cover art: Arnaud and a Giant Armadillo.