While driving down a remote gravel road in central Argentina, resident Hugo Reguero came upon a mysterious pink creature. Reguero soon figured out the creature was a pink fairy armadillo, an underground-dwelling species so rare that it's considered one of the least seen on the planet (and, unofficially, one of the cutest!).
Just look at it scurry about:
Reguero's chance encounter was unexpected, especially considering a dedicated armadillo researcher spent 13 years without a single sighting of this elusive creature in the wild.
The Dodo reached out to armadillo specialist Dr. Mariella Superina, who confirmed that the animal Reguero ran across that day was indeed a pink fairy armadillo — and that the sighting was a lucky one, indeed.
"It's quite a privilege to see one of these little creatures in the wild!" Superina told The Dodo, praising Reguero for his stewardship during the rare encounter. "[He] only filmed the animal but did not touch or otherwise bother it — and that's the right thing to do!"
Chlamyphorus truncatus, the tiniest armadillo species on the planet, spends almost all of its time underground, making it hard for researchers to determine whether it's endangered or just very elusive. Scientists at Mendoza, Argentina's CONICET research center recently had the opportunity to study one in captivity and discovered that the animal doesn't "swim" through sand as previously suspected but rather "digs and then it backs up and compacts the sand with its butt plate."