Endangered armadillo – living floating inner tube

The Pink Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus) is the smallest species of armadillo  It is approximately 90-115 mm (3½-4½”) long excluding the tail, and is pale rose or pink in color. It is found in central Argentina where it inhabits dry grasslands and sandy plains with thorn bushes and cacti. It has the ability to bury itself completely in a matter of seconds if frightened.
The Pink Fairy Armadillo burrows its home near  its food supply the local ant colonies in dry dirt. It feeds mainly on ants and ant larvae near its burrow. Occasionally it feeds on worms, snails, insects and larvae, or various plant and root material. (1)

They have a bony armor shell. Armadillos are native to the American continents. It is a cousin to the anteater.

Armadillos believe that the best defense is a good offense. They are covered with armor-like outer skin, overlapping scales composed of bone with a covering of horn. These rigid shields over the shoulders and hips, with a number of bands separated by flexible skin covering the back and flanks. Additional armor covers the top of the head, the upper parts of the limbs, and the tail. The underside of the animal is never armored, and is simply covered with soft skin and fur.
This armor-like skin appears to be the main defense of many armadillos, although most escape predators by fleeing (often into thorny patches, from which their armor protects them) or digging to safety. (2)

If they need to cross a stream, the density of its armor will sink it. So the armadillo inflates its stomach with air (an ability unique among mammals which allows it to swim across narrow bodies of water), which often doubles its size. It can hold its breath for 6 minutes.

Armadillos are used in the study of leprosy, since they are one of the only other animal species that can contract the disease. They are very prone to contracting leprosy because of their low body temperature. Leprosy bacterium (Mycobacterium leprae) grows well in that environment. (2)

Armadillos alway give birth to four identical offspring.

Armadillos have poor vision but are not blind.

Armadillos use their claws for digging and finding food, as well as for making their homes in burrows. They dig their burrows with their claws, only making a single corridor where they fit themselves. They have five clawed toes on the hind feet, and three to five toes with heavy digging claws on the fore feet.(2)

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Fairy_Armadillo

2. http://armadillo.search.ipupdater.com

images courtesy of http://www.sharenator.com/Worlds_strangest_looking_animals

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1 Comment

  1. JK Fowler said,

    November 11, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Hi there. Thought you might be interested in this: http://jkfowler.com/2009/11/11/armadillo/ . Cheers, JK


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