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Armadillos: Dasypodidae

Pink Fairy Armadillo (chlamyphorus Truncatus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Pink fairy armadillos are approximately 5.9 inches (15 centimeters) long and weigh 4.2 ounces (120 grams). The armadillo has a pink shell and thick, white fur on its sides. The shell is attached to the backbone and covers the top of the armadillo's head. The shell extends on the back but doesn't cover the armadillo's rear.

Pink fairy armadillos have small eyes and ears, and pointed noses. They cannot move their tail up and down, so the tail drags on the ground.

Pink fairy armadillos live in the central grasslands of Argentina. They dig their burrows near ant nests. (© N. Smythe/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Geographic range: Pink fairy armadillos are found in Argentina.


Habitat: Pink fairy armadillos live in central Argentina in grassland and sandy plains where thorn bushes and cacti (KACK-tie, or KACK-tee; plural of cactus) grow. The armadillos often dig burrows in dry soil near ant nests. When rain wets the ground where they live, armadillos move to another place.


Diet: Pink fairy armadillos eat ants most of the time. Their diet also includes snails, worms, roots, and other plant material. The armadillos sometimes eat carrion, the flesh of dead animals.


Behavior and reproduction: Pink fairy armadillos are nocturnal and are strong diggers. They eat at night and spend the day in their burrows. The armadillos are solitary until they mate. They are thought to be polygamous. The female gives birth to one young. The pup's shell does not become completely hard until it is fully grown.

Pink fairy armadillos and people: There is no known relationship between pink fairy armadillos and people.


Conservation status: Pink fairy armadillos are Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild, and the major threat to their survival is agriculture. Habitat is lost as land is plowed for farming. Another threat comes from domestic dogs that kill the tiny armadillos. ∎

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Squire, Ann O. Anteaters, Sloths, and Armadillos. New York: Franklin Watts, 1999.

Periodicals:

Myers, Kathy. "The Armor-Plated Armadillos." ZooNooz (September 2003): 12–17.

Smith, Dwight G. "The Armored Pig." World and I (August 1999): 174.

Web sites:

"Armadillo." The Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/AA/tca2.html (accessed on June 30, 2004).

"Everyday Mysteries." The Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/armadillo.html (accessed on June 30, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsArmadillos: Dasypodidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Armadillos And People, Conservation Status, Nine-banded Armadillo (dasypus Novemcinctus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET