Pink Fairy Armadillo
The pink fairy armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus), is the smallest species of armadillo ( 12-15 cm long) found in west-central Argentina where the inhabitants call it ‘Pichi ciego‘ (a small blind armadillo). It is the only species of the genus Chlamyphorus .
Pink Fairy Physical Traits
The pink fairy armadillo kind of looks like a newborn baby. It has a pale pink shell made up of 23 to 25 rows of bony plates stuck in its skin and covered with a rough skin. The stomach is covered with long hairs (they also have hair under their shell). Its coat is white, soft and silky. They have small eyes and are very small and he has no ear holes.
The pink fairy armadillo of Argentina is equipped with powerful claws and a tail in the shape of spatula of 2 or 3 cm . It is 12 to 15 cm long and weighs more or less 120 g. It is the smallest member of the order of Cingulata. The pink fairy armadillo digs the earth very quickly and burrows itself if it is worried. It digs the ground of its front legs, bearing on its hind legs and its rigid tail. All members of the armadillo familly have 5 claws. He lives in galleries and emerges from his lodge at dusk to feed. Truncated chlamydophore has proven difficult to breed in captivity, and its reproduction is unknown.
It measures 13-15 cm, plus 4-5 cm of tail. The head, the belly and the hips are covered with a soft, fine fur of whitish color: the tail is naked, flattened and stiff, and in the end it resembles a spoon. The eyes and ears are very small. The front limbs are equipped with robust claws suitable for excavation. They can also have a yellowish armor on his back, formed by 24 corneal plates that start from the forehead and continue to the back of the body, which is abruptly truncated (hence the truncatus name of the species) and is protected by a vertical shield.
The pink fairy armadillo is the only armadillo with the dorsal shell almost completely separated from the body. A bone plate in the shell at the rear of the animal is securely attached to the pelvic bones. The tail is spatula-shaped, and protrudes from a notch in the rear plate. The tail cannot be raised, and as a result drags behind the animal as it walks. Females posses two mammae.
Digging, Burrowing, and Eating
Pink fairies are nocturnal, and spend their nights burrowing in the sands of central Argentina. They are experts at moving through underground sand — they dig with their enormous claws and then pat the sand behind them into a compact tunnel with a butt plate that resembles a spatula.
The pink fairy armadillo uses their digging abilities to burrow in areas beside large ant colonies. Ants provide a constant food source for this species of armadillo. As well, they may also forage on worms, snails and plant matter but ants are their number one choice.
They sometimes come to the ground, where they walk extremely slowly. They do most of their feeding at night, eating ants, termites, and other small insects. The armadillo, Spanish for “little armored thing”, originated in South America more than sixty million years ago.
Where the Pink Fairy Armadillo Lives
The pink fairy armadillo is native to Argentina where it lives on the dry, sandy plains of the west – central part of the country.
Pink fairy armadillos are classified as a subterranean armadillo that is extremely sensitive to environmental changes and stress. As an example, sudden environmental changes that could affect pink fairy armadillos include temperature and soil quality. In order for them to survive and maintain stability, they must occupy undisturbed places that contain sufficient amounts of compact sand and hiding places. This also refers to possible captivity conditions for this animal due to its desert-adapted characteristics.
The conservation status for pink fairy armadillo is still uncertain, and it is listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed as “Data Deficient” because there is little information on the population status of this species, and its biology and ecology are poorly known. The decline in population for this species has generally been attributed to farming activities and predators including domestic dogs and cats.
Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference