Small hairy armadillo

Chaetophractus vellerosus

SUBFAMILY

Euphractinae

TAXONOMY

Dasypus vellerosus (Gray, 1865), Bolivia. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Small screaming armadillo; French: Petit tatou velu; German: Weisshaar-Gurteltier; Spanish: Quirquincho chico.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Length 14.6 in (37 cm); weight 1.9 lb (850 g). Dentition: 9/10. Smallest of the hairy armadillos, it has a broad head shield with widely spaced ears and 18 bands. Silky hairs sparsely cover the body. Kidneys concentrate fluids and are thus adapted to arid climates.

DISTRIBUTION

Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina.

HABITAT

Sandy desert habitat that is not rocky.

BEHAVIOR

Fossorial and nocturnal to avoid the day's heat but become more diurnal in the winter. Spend most of their time foraging near vegetation in prescribed home ranges (4.7 ha on average). In captivity, forages systematically, spiraling inwardly in a patch. Multiple burrows, found in sand dunes or near vegetation, are used for resting, shelter and foraging. Gives off an eerie scream when handled.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Omnivorous diet consists of invertebrates, vertebrates and plant material. Summer diet includes rodents (20%). Diet adapted to desert life where insects are scarce.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Captive animals give birth to one to two young and have a gestation period of 65 days. Probably polygynous.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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