The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest armadillo species, and very elusive. So much so that those researching the animal do not have enough data on their numbers to know if they need to be classified as endangered. Many researchers have never seen one in the wild, just the animal’s tracks.
It lives only in Argentina, in dry grasslands and sandy plains. They are nocturnal, and spend most of their time burrowing underground for food but they do come out of their burrows to eat insects like ants. They grow up to six inches long and have fine white hair on their body with a hard outer covering running down their back that flushes pink. It also has a flat plate on its behind that is unique to this species with a little tail they can use to stabilize themselves:
These animals do not like being held in captivity, with trouble adapting to an artificial diet. They are very picky eaters and most taken in by humans (as pets or because they are injured) die in about 8 days. But one pink fairy (and only this particular individual) brought to a researcher because it could not be set free was willing to eat a goo made from milk, cat food, and a half of a banana. This little guy really helped researchers learn more about pink fairy armadillos in its 8 months of terrarium life. It was once believed that these little guys “swim” through dirt with a movement like swimming in water. But the captive pink fairy would dig with its claws for a bit, then back up, and compact the sand with its flat butt plate.
It is fascinating to think there are still creatures this elusive out there for us to learn about. Pink Fairies are cute, I hope that researchers are able to properly get a grasp on their numbers and assure that this creature is around for future generations. Finally, as they cannot be kept alive in captivity they have to be kept truly free and any attempts to preserve the population would have to start in the wild. A wild animal should remain wild, and this one can only exist as it was meant to be.