Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Giant Armadillo

Priodontes maximus
Meet the largest member of the Armadillo family, the appropriately named Giant Armadillo. These odd looking animals cab grow over 3ft long (not including the tail) and weigh over 70lbs-- some have even tipped the scales at over 100! You'll find these solitary, nocturnal mammals in South America.

Like all Armadillos, the Giant has a really strange body. They have a layer of bony plates underneath their skin, and the number of hinged bands ranges from 11 to 13 depending on the individual. Because of their massive size they are unable to roll up into a ball. Instead, they have to burrow to escape predators.

To dig those burrows the Giant Armadillos use their massive front claws. Those same claws also help them to rip apart termite mounds. Termites are their primary prey, but they will eat other insects and invertebrates as well. Speaking of eating, did you know that an adult Giant Armadillo can have as many as 100 teeth? That is more teeth than any other mammal!

Unfortunately there isn't much else to say about the Giant Armadillos. They haven't been extensively studied, and we know almost nothing about their reproductive habits. They are listed as Vulnerable because of deforestation and hunting.

IUCN Status : Vulnerable
Location : South America
Size : Body Length up to 3.3ft (1m), Weight up to 70lbs (32kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Cingulata
Family : Dasypodidae -- Genus : Priodontes -- Species : P. maximus
Image : Diertje Van de Dag

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