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Are you on the lookout for some strange animals? Why not start with something really cute and adorable? We have all heard of armadillos – those big armored animals (you will recognize if you see one) but have you ever heard of Pink Fairy Armadillo? Pink because it is pink (sometimes, less pinkish and more of brownish and yellowish) but yes, pink! This armadillo is pink (not entirely though). Fairy? We don’t know why it is called fairy but it definitely doesn’t have wings or halo. It is simply cute. Honestly, the creature is very weird. In this article, let us learn some Pink Fairy Armadillo facts and find out more amount this amazing animal with incredible fashion sense. But before we start, let us quickly look at some important facts:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Cingulata
Family Dasypodidae
Subfamily Euphractinae
Genus Chlamyphorus
Scientific Name Chlamyphorus truncates
Type Mammal
Life Span 5 years to 10 years
Lifestyle Solitary, fossorial, nocturnal and subterranean
Size 3.5 inches or 90 millimeters to 4.5 inches or 115 millimeters
Diet Omnivore
Skin Type Hard shell
Color Pale Rose or Pink
Habitat Dandy plains and dry grasslands
Favorite food Ants
Weight 120 grams
Primary prey Ants, plant material and worms
Predators Dogs (especially domestic dogs)
Litter size (average) 1
Special characteristics Large front claws, hard shell, shielded head, butt plat for compacting dirt
Conservation status In 2006, it was put on ICUN’s Red List and was categorized as near-threatened. In 2008, it was moved to the category ‘data deficient’.

Now let us begin…

Interesting Pink Fairy Armadillo Facts: 1-5

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo is an armadillo species. It is smallest of all known armadillos.

2. Known by the name – Pichiciego, it is found in Central Argentina. Its habitats include scrubby grasslands, dunes and sandy plains.

3. Their body length, excluding their tail, ranges between 90 mm and 115 mm.

4. Of all armadillo species, this is the only armadillo, whose dorsal shell is totally separate from its body. It is connected to the body with only a thin membrane, which runs right along its spine.

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5. The pink color of the shell comes from the underlying blood vessels, which show through the shell. It is the blood in the blood vessels that create the pale rose or pink hue.

Interesting Pink Fairy Armadillo Facts: 6-10

6. The shell is actually fragile and pretty flexible. This means that the shell is not used as a protective armor. Scientists think that the shell is more for thermoregulation.

7. The color of the shell can actually change depending on the environment in which the animal is put it. Based on the environmental factors, irrigation of blood into the blood vessels can actually increase or decrease and thereby lead to change in color.

8. When more blood flows into the shell or the carapace, the temperature of the creature’s body falls and draining blood out of the shell helps the Pink Fairy Armadillo to retain its body heat.

9. Beneath the carapace or the shell is silky fur which is yellowish-white in color.

10. Now, the pink and white combination may sound weird in the dessert setting because those colors can attract predators. Pink Fairy Armadillo however, is subterranean and barely stays above the ground for a few moments. So, the pink and white is just fine.

Interesting Pink Fairy Armadillo Facts: 11-15

11. This armadillo is actually a wonderful burrower or digger and remains 6 inches underneath the ground. It is such an excellent digger that it is often said that it is a sand-swimmer just like the famed sandfish (which is actually a lizard).

12. Weirdly, the Pink Fairy Armadillo doesn’t really dig through sand. It actually digs through comparatively firm earth. The reason for it being such an efficient digger is that it actually has enormous front claws. The claws are so big that it can barely walk on any hard surface.

13. This armadillo is one of the very few mammals out there that doesn’t have visible external ears.

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14. This armadillo is strictly nocturnal. It is very elusive and can be rarely seen on ground.

15. The armor of the Pink Fairy Armadillo has 24 bands, allowing the mammal to easily curl up and take the shape of a ball. One really interesting Pink Fairy Armadillo fact is that at the rear end of the animal, its armor is flattened.

Interesting Pink Fairy Armadillo Facts: 16-20

16. The flattened armor on the rear, often dubbed as butt plate, is basically designed to compact or compress dirt that it digs with its front claws.

17. It does so to close the burrow behind it and create an open space in front of it so that it can breathe and carry out its exploration.

18. The tail of this armadillo is shaped like a spatula and it works as a fifth limb, allowing the animal to balance its body as its forelimbs are busy digging.

19. Because the eyes of the Pink Fairy Armadillo are very small, the animal relies heavily on hearing and touching for navigation under the soil.

20. Heavy storms and rainfall force the Pink Fairy Armadillos to come out of their burrows. The reason for this is that if the tunnels get flooded, their fur will get wet and with wet fur, they cannot thermoregulate. Without thermoregulation, the likelihood of suffering from hypothermia is very high for these mammals.

Interesting Pink Fairy Armadillo Facts: 21-25

21. The Pink Fairy Armadillo is known to live a solitary lifestyle. Scientists however believe that when it comes to mating, these armadillos have a polygamous lifestyle.

22. Females will give birth to only one young. The young ones will not have completely hardened shells unless and until they are fully grown.

23. When it comes to feeding habits, Pink Fairy Armadillos are known to be omnivores. Though their favorite food is ‘ants’, they aren’t shy of filling their bellies with root material, plant material, snails, worms and other insects.

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24. The geographical range of these armadillos is very restricted. They are native to central Argentina’s xeric environment and are usually found in Buenos Aires’ south, Rio Negro’s north and Mendoza province’s south. They are not found anywhere else in the world.

25. Pink Fairy Armadillos can barely survive outside their natural habitat. They cannot adapt to artificial diet and hence, they cannot be kept as pet for long. They will barely survive for a few days.

Interesting Pink Fairy Armadillo Facts: 26-30

26. According to Mariella Superina, National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina’s Conservation Biologist, a whopping 95% of these armadillos die in captivity just within 8 days!

27. The Pink Fairy Armadillo is very very sensitive to any changes in its natural environment. It becomes very stressed when moved out of its natural habitat (either as pet or simply for rehabilitation when caught injured). This is precisely why the armadillo dies so quickly.

28. Till date, only three Pink Fairy Armadillos have managed to survive long in captivity. The first one was put in captive maintenance in 1970 and survived for 30 month. The next one survived for 22 months in captive maintenance and was captured in 1985. The last one that was captured and put in captive maintenance was in 2009. It survived for only 8 months.

29. The animal is so rare to spot that scientists don’t really know whether they are currently endangered or not. Back in 2006, it was put on ICUN’s Red List and was categorized as near-threatened. However, two years later in 2008, the Pink Fairy Armadillo was moved to the category known as ‘data deficient’ because there isn’t enough scientific information available about the animal.

30. When it comes to threats, farming activities by humans are a major threat for these animals. Domestic cats and dogs are the common predators of this subterranean armadillo.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Image credits: 1, 2, Mariella Superina / Paul Vogt

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