Screaming Hairy Armadillo

(Chaetophractus vellerosus)

The screaming hairy armadillos body is covered with a thick armor, which is comprised of bony plates covered in small, overlapping scales called scutes. Their armor consists of a shield covering the head, a small band between the ears on the animal’s neck, and the carapace, which covers the rest of the body. About 18 bands make up the carapace, six to eight of which are movable, allowing the armadillo to curl up if threatened.

Like other armadillos, they have a good sense of smell and relatively good vision and hearing. If threatened, they will emit a loud squealing noise. Found just east of the Andes Mountains in the Monte Desert, screaming hairy armadillos inhabit parts of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. They prefer a dry habitat with loose, sandy soil which allows for easier burrowing.

Omnivorous animals, screaming hairy armadillos will eat primarily plants, insects and small vertebrates such as frogs, toads, lizards, birds and rodents. Screaming hairy armadillos have a few unique methods of hunting; they regularly burrow under and sometimes into carcasses in search of invertebrates to consume. This species has also been observed digging in an unusual fashion—instead of using their legs and claws to expose grubs and insects, screaming hairy armadillos will force their heads into the ground, then turn in a circle to create a cone-shaped hole. There have also been recorded instances of these armadillos throwing themselves upon small snakes, which are then cut by the edges of the carapace. Screaming hairy armadillos do not need to drink water regularly; efficient kidneys and the ability to retain moisture in the plants that they consume allow screaming hairy armadillos to go long periods without drinking.

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