What on Earth is a Pink Fairy Armadillo?

February 23, 2019
Because of its small, pinkish appearance, the pink fairy armadillo may look like an animal from a fairytale. But nothing is further from reality...

The animal in today’s article may not sound like much, but it’s actually one of the rarest and most extraordinary species currently living on this planet. We’re talking about the pink fairy armadillo, a very interesting animal that’s quite a mystery.

What’s the pink fairy armadillo like?

This animal (Chlamyphorus truncatus) belongs to the Chlamyphoridae family and was first discovered around 1825.

It’s considered the smallest specimen of the armadillo group and its size ranges from 3 to 4 inches. It has silky white fur, but its most notable feature is definitely the pink armor that covers its upper body (in both babies and adults). The edge of its shell isn’t attached to his body, and so you can clearly see its white fur that helps protect it from the cold.

Its tail is a diamond shape, which makes it different from the rest of the species that have long and pointed tails. Curiously, the pink fairy armadillo uses its tail to walk; it uses it like another leg.

Are they blind?

These small, nocturnal animals aren’t totally blind, but they can’t distinguish shapes or contours. However, their eyes can detect light, which is an adaptation for its life underground. 

A pink fairy armadillo walking in the grass.

The pink fairy armadillo lives most of its life underground. Since it has such limited vision, it uses its nose to feed on small invertebrates like ants and worms. 

The rest of their omnivorous diet is made up of plants and roots. However, not much detail is known about their complete diet, as experts haven’t been able to study this animal in much depth.

Habitat and behavior

The pink fairy armadillo lives in the central regions of Argentina. It prefers areas that are arid and dry, or sandy plains with a lot of shrubs and cacti. These animals don’t come out very often, and so experts don’t know too much about them. 

One thing they know is that it can’t handle a lot of stress well, neither the presence of other animals. When it feels threatened, it’ll use its claws to dig into the earth very quickly, and will bury itself inside. 

There are many things about the pink fairy armadillo that experts still don’t understand. Their reproductive habits are a mystery, and it’s not clear how many of them there are. Because of this, it’s difficult to say with any degree of certainty if they’re in danger of extinction or not. Whatever the case, this animal is yet another example of how nature never ceases to amaze us.

  • Superina, M. (2011). Husbandry of a pink fairy armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus): case study of a cryptic and little known species in captivity. Zoo biology30(2), 225-231.

 

  • Borghi, C. E., Campos, C. M., Giannoni, S. M., Campos, V. E., & Sillero-Zubiri, C. (2011). Updated distribution of the pink fairy armadillo Chlamyphorus truncatus (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae), the world’s smallest armadillo. Edentata12, 14-19.