Crazy Creatures | Pink Fairy Armadillo
The Pink Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus) which is also referred to as the Pichiciego is believed to be the tiniest type of armadillo (mammals of the family Dasypodidae, mostly known for having a bony armor shell) on Earth. This species of armadillo typically grows to be between 90-115 mm in length (3.5-4.5 inches), not including its tail, less than a pound in weight, and is pale rose to pink in color. Similarly, this is the only species of armadillo that has its dorsal shell almost entirely separate from its body.
This special animal resides in the dry grasslands and sandy plains of central Argentina. The sandy environment works well for the pink fairy armadillo considering they are excellent diggers. In truth, they have the ability to completely bury themselves in an issue of seconds if threatened.
Pink fairy armadillos use their excavating abilities to burrow in locations beside big ant colonies. It’s a great location to live as the ants offer a consistent food source for this type of armadillo. They will also seek out worms, snails, other insects and larvae, or various plant and root material but ants are their primary food choice.
This little armadillo often lives a solitary life where it stays secure underground only to come out and feed during the night. It is believed that the pink fairy armadillo is polygamous when it comes to mating. Generally the female will give birth to one young, whose shell will not end up being entirely hardened until it is totally grown.
Pink fairy armadillos will spend most of their time underground much like a mole. The large front claws allow them to effortlessly move the sand as they burrow underground almost as if they were swimming through the water. They are sometimes referred to as “sand swimmers” similar to the golden mole or the marsupial mole. The torpedo shape of the armadillo as well as the shielded head and back makes this kind of movement possible. A recent study has found that the “butt plate” (shown at right) may be used to compact or pat down dirt and sand behind the armadillo as it makes its way underground.
Unfortunately, due to habitat destruction (particularly due to cattle farming), the population of the pink fairy armadillo has been declining since 1970 when they were listed as “threatened”. In 1996, the species was classed as “endangered” by the IUCN, then upgraded to “near threatened” in 2006, and in 2008 changed to “data deficient”.
Check out this wonderful video for more info on this Crazy Creature!