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The Pink Fairy Armadillo

This article is about The Pink Fairy Armadillo, and in this article the Pink Fairy Armadillos size, habitat, diet, habit and interesting facts will be discussed. This particular species is listed as “Data Deficient” because there is little information on the population dynamics and natural history of this species, and its biology and ecology are poorly known.

Though, these animals are not believed to be threats to humans, but based on research, pink fairy armadillos make plants and roots materials their secondary option for food, thus making it  threat to plants and crops

Description 

The pink fairy armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus) is the smallest member in the armadillo family. It is also known as “Pichiciego” it is also called the following names locally antiquirquincho, armadillo truncado menor, guargualate, Juan calado, pichiciego, pichihormiguero, and tatu de abrigo, its name in Spanish is pichiciego menor, its name in German is kleiner gurtelmull and its name in French is chlamyphore tronque.

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Excluding the measurement of its tail, the pink fairy armadillo in length, ranges from 90 to 115 mm and weighs about 120 kg.

Known to be one of the cutest species, pink fairy armadillos have small eyes, silky yellowish white fur.

pink fairy armadillo

Weirdly, pink fairy armadillos have a flexible dorsal shell that is solely attached to their body by a thin dorsal membrane, also their spatula-shaped tail protrudes from a vertical plate at the blunt rear of its shell.

The pink fairy armadillo is the only member of the armadillo family that has its dorsal shell almost completely separate from its body, which is connected to the body with only a thin membrane, that runs right along its spine.

It has silky white skin all over its body, brown outer shell on the back and produced plates of keratin.

For head protection from potential predators, the pink fairy armadillo has large plates, apparently they don't have ears, and the end of their tail is flat and diamond-shaped. And lastly the pink fairy armadillo has two mahoosive sets of claws, which are quite large compared to its body, making it more difficult for it to move on a hard surface.

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Habitat & Geographical Range

The pink fairy armadillo are well known for their habitation on dry grassland. It also lives in sandy plains with shrubby vegetation. Pink fairy armadillos are  fos­so­r­ial species that lives pri­mar­ily in loose sandy dunes, which limits their areas of habi­ta­tion.

According to studies, the pink fairy armadillo can be classified as subterranean armadillo, which means they are excessively sensitive to environmental and climatic changes, stress.

Pink fairy armadillos live in central Argentina in grassland and sandy plains, mainly found in the provinces  of San Luis, LA Pampa, Mendoza, San Juan, Catamarca and Córdoba.

pink fairy armadillo Habitat & Geographical Range

The armadillos often dig burrows in dry soil near ant nests. their ge­o­graphic range is restricted to the east by high amounts of rain­fall which would flood their bur­rows.

Diet

Based on study, the pink fairy armadillos eat mostly at night, spending their day in their burrows.

They  are classified as a fossorial generalist omnivore, but they are more of an insectivorous animal, because they are lovers of  larvae and underground ants.

pink fairy armadillo diet

Though pink fairy armadillos also feed on snails and worms along with other insects, but if these insects and invertebrates can’t be found, pink fairy armadillos eat plant leaves and roots.

Despite numerous scientific studies being carried out, it is still unknown if pink fairy armadillo take liquids. Few pink fairy armadillos that was captured for scientific experiments and observations were never noticed consuming water or any liquid substance.  

Threats

As big as the pink fairy armadillo claws are, they are helpless when threatened or attacked by bigger domestic and wild predators, staying in their burrows is their best means of defending themselves.

One of the biggest threat to pink fairy armadillos are domestic cats and dogs.

Though there have been reports of attacks by some wild animals such as wolves.

But, it is not a surprise that humans contribute most to the decrease in the population of this weird but cute animal.

pink fairy armadillo threats

Pink fairy armadillos have been exposed to higher risks due to the increase in human population and even human activities specifically agricultural activities, including habitat conversion due to agricultural activities such as plowing of fields and cattle ranching which brings about compaction of the soil, the use of pesticides on farmlands, (ants which are pink fairy armadillos primary source of food are clinged to by pesticides, which can be harmful to their health) are the prevalent threats this species is facing.

Another threat to pink fairy armadillos is captivity conditions, due to its desert-adapted characteristics, pink fairy armadillos have a very low chances of survival while in captivity, some even die in transit. Despite these captivity conditions, this animal are victims of illegal sales on black markets, often as pets. Also, due to its low metabolism rate and inability to store fat make them vulnerable to climatic and environmental changes.

With the emergence of all these threats, the pink fairy armadillo has been listed as “Threatened” since 1970.

Life Span

Having stated earlier that, this species are dif­fi­cult to study, no long term stud­ies have been con­ducted and there­fore the pink ar­madil­los life span in its habitat is unascertained.

The longest known lifespan of this species, while in cap­tiv­ity is 4 or 4.3 years, the maximum lifespan may be much longer,  lit­tle in­for­ma­tion is known about this discovery.

As it was stated before, pink fairy armadillos do not do well in captivity, most of ‘em die a few days after being cap­tured, some in transit. More research is needed to be able to give accurate and authentic information  

Reproduction

Quite little is known about how pink fairy ar­madil­los mate. But, they are believed to be polygamous.

Pink fairy armadillos are solitary animals that stay in their burrows during the day, it stays protected underground

and only come out to feed at night.

Pink fairy armadillos will usually approach each other only for mating purposes. The female gives birth to one young. The pup's shell does not become completely hard until it is fully grown.

Based on reproductive studies, the males have no ex­ter­nal tes­ti­cles and that the fe­males have two nip­ples

Males are thought  to be the ones to track the lo­ca­tions of fe­males and to make the first approach. When they ap­proach a fe­male, the males touch the dor­sal area of the fe­male and this touch elic­its her tail-wag­ging.

If tail-wag­ging oc­curs,the males will ap­proach and sniff the fe­male. It is thought that the prox­im­ity the males main­tain to the fe­males may be some form of mate guard­ing.

Based on scientific research about other armadillo species, it is believed that pink fairy armadillos certainly have only one or two off­spring per year.

Behaviour

pink fairy armadillo behaviour
pink fairy armadillo behaviour

The pink fairy armadillo will spends most of its time underground similar to a mole. The large front claws allow them to effortlessly move the sand. In fact they move underground as if they were swimming through the water. The aerodynamics of the armadillo as well as the shielded head makes this type of movement possible.

The Pink fairy armadillo has very small eyes and because of its poor vision, it relies greatly on hearing and touch to guide. Due to it's big claws, he is not able to walk on a hard surface with comfort

Interesting Facts

  • It was given the name “Pink Fairy Armadillo, because all its blood vessels on the plate are pink in color.
  • Because of its ability to burrow through soil as fast as a fish, the pink fairy armadillo was nicknamed "sand-swimmer”
  • Armadillos are amazing swimmers. When diving are able to hold their breath for as long as 6 minutes.
  • Armadillos sleep for 16-18 hours a day in their burrows.
  • While in captivity, armadillos are thought to consume avocado shells, flesh, and watermelon.

*Threat to humans?

Since the pink fairy armadillo was discovered, and many scientific studies and researches have been carried out, there haven't been any reports attacks on humans by this animal. The pink fairy armadillo, therefore are not believed to be threats to humans.

*Threats to plants and crops?

As it was stated earlier that, plant leaves and roots make a good secondary dietary option for pink fairy armadillos if  insects and invertebrates can’t be found, thus making it a threat to plants and crops.

The pink fairy armadillo also eat roots materials

*How to keep them out?

These little weird animals can do a lot of damages to your crops and plants.

No deterrents have been discovered to keep pink fairy armadillos out. But it is believed that fully grown “Organ Pipe Cactus” attracts pink fairy armadillos.

So, what can you do to keep ‘em out?

Why not use their biggest predators against ‘em?

As it was stated earlier, domestic dogs and cats are the biggest threats to pink fairy armadillos.

The use of pesticides on farmlands can also help in getting rid of ‘em.