By: Shruthi Ravichandran and Jessica Chang
Welcome Back! We’re so happy to see you back here!
In this cold winter season, we can only wish for warmer temperatures, right? Well we have solved that problem! Take a trip with us to the deserts of Argentina to visit the pink fairy armadillo. But remember the saying, “Take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints,” because these adorably small creatures can’t survive long in captivity. In fact, 95% of all of them die in captivity in less than eight days. They’re so cute though, it’s hard to resist squeezing them. The pink fairy armadillo only grows up to 115 mm and weighs less than a pound, meaning that you can hold it in your hand!
The armadillo’s pink shell is due to a network of underlying capillaries supplying blood to keep it warm in the cold desert nights. Silky, yellow-white fur beneath the shell also serves to make sure these cuddly mammals don’t freeze to death. In different temperatures, their shells can also change color, ranging from a deep pink to a pale rose. While this color combination might seem like it makes them a target in the arid desert, because pink fairy armadillos primarily live underground, it’s not a problem. Their large front claws allow them to completely bury themselves in sand within a matter of seconds. Often, these armadillos will dig in the sand looking for ants to eat. While they also dig in (haha) to worms, snails, and plant matter, ants are their primary source of food.
Next time you visit Argentina, keep on the lookout for these tiny cuties!
Happy Sciencing and Go Girls in STEM!!
Your favorite freshman,
Shruthi and Jessica 🙂