The Screaming hairy armadillo is one of the smallest and most slender species of its genus. The adjective "screaming" in the name derives from their habit of squealing when handled or threatened. These animals have a protective armor. It consists of the shield on the head, a small shield between the ears on the back of the neck, and a carapace. This carapace protects the shoulders, back, sides, and rump of the animal and has 6-8 movable bands. The hair on the dorsum is light brown in colour. Males in this species are generally larger than females.
Screaming hairy armadillos are found in parts of the Gran Chaco and Pampas areas of Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. An isolated population is found in eastern Buenos Aires Province in Argentina. They inhabit subtropical or tropical dry forests, temperate shrubland, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, temperate grassland, subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland, hot deserts, temperate desert, arable land, pastureland, and plantations. These armadillos are absent in rocky areas where they would not be able to burrow.
Screaming hairy armadillos are solitary anymals. They are nocturnal by summer and diurnal in winter. These armadillos can stay without water for long periods of time. They often burrow at the base of bushes and shrubs. Hairy screaming armadillos have multiple burrows in their range, and each burrow may have more than one entrance. A burrow may be 20-38 cm (7.9-15 in) in diameter and may be several metres long. The animal does not build a nest in its burrow which it seals during occupation. The home range of an armadillo consists of a minimum area of 3.4 ha (8.4 acres). When not in its burrow, the animal spends most of its time foraging.
Little is known about the mating system and reproductive behavior of Screaming hairy armadillos. It is known that the breeding season occurs in the autumn. The gestation period is 60-75 days. Females produce two litters per year which consist of two young. Pups weigh 155 grams at birth. They open their eyes after 16-30 days. Weaning occurs at 50-60 days. Screaming hairy armadillos become reproductively mature at 9 months of age.
This armadillo is heavily hunted for its meat in parts of the Chaco region in Bolivia. It is at times considered an agricultural pest and killed by hunting dogs. The disjunct population of coastal Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, is adversely affected by mining activities. The carapace is particularly sought for making charangos, a South American musical instrument akin to a lute.
The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Screaming hairy armadillo total population size, but this animal is common and widespread throughout its known range. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.