Friday, July 2, 2010

Pink Fairy Armadillo

Chlamyphorus truncatus  has to have one of the cutest names of any animal. Seriously. Pink. Fairy. Also known as the Pichiciego, it's the smallest of all the armadillos, measuring between 3 and 6 inches long. The Giant Armadillo, in contrast, can measure nearly 40 inches.

Image from Creepy Animals
Pink Fairy Armadillos are native to Argentina and prefer dry grasslands and sandy areas where the habitat is abundant in scrub brush and cacti. They are nocturnal creatures and wonderful little diggers. They live in burrows that often lie close to ant hills, one of their favorite types of prey. Other prey types include worms, snails, and some plant materials.

Pink Fairy Armadillos spend most of their time underground, and will usually only eave their burrows when the ground becomes unbearably moist. They are wonderfully adapted to such a life, with long front claws and torpedo shaped bodies. Tunneling is accomplished by shoveling dirt under the body with the front feet, and then pushing it backwards with the back. When startled out in the open they can bury themselves in a matter of seconds. They are unique among armadillos in that their dorsal shell is barely connected to their body. Pink Fairy Armadillos also possess a rear plate that covers their tail and is used for backside protection when fleeing from enemies.

Unfortunately, the Pink Fairy Armadillos are an endangered species. In their native Argentinian homes the are threatened by habitat destruction and consumption by dogs. They do very poorly in captivity, and no specimen has ever lived beyond four years while in captivity.

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