- Status: Vulnerable
- Known as: Hairy Long-nosed Armadillo
- Estimated numbers left in the wild: Unknown
Featured image by Anderson Feijó, Bruce D. Patterson and Pedro Cordeiro-Estrela
The word armadillo means ‘little man in armor’ in Spanish, and it does help describe this member of the species. However, unlike most of its relatives, which have little or no hair on the body, the hairy long-nosed armadillo is blessed with an extremely well-haired back and abdomen.
The head of this armadillo, which ends in a very long snout, has no hair and the tail also is hairless. Hairy long-nosed armadillos vary in length between 36.5 to 105 centimeters, including the tail. These animals weigh 1 kilogram to 10 kilograms.
As with all the armadillo tribes, the hairy long-nosed armadillo possesses a suit of armor that protects from predators. The armor on the back has 11 flexible bands that allow the animal to roll up into a nearly impregnable ball if attacked.
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The hairy long-nosed armadillo prefers to inhabit areas where it can avail itself of the protective cover offered by limestone formations.
It also lives in places where the dense vegetation will offer it shade. This armadillo is not fussy about the type of forest it inhabits and is equally at home in deciduous or evergreen woods. It feeds not only on insects and worms but also small lizards and salamanders.
The burrows dug by the hairy long-nosed armadillo can extend into the earth for 7.5 meters and can be up to 3.5 meters deep. At the end of the tunnel is the nest chamber, filled with dried grass. Little is known about the breeding habits of this armadillo, but same-sex armadillos will often share the nest chamber.
Young armadillos are referred to as pups, while the males are called listers and the female’s zeds. If hairy long-nosed armadillos congregate, the assembly is called a fez. These armadillos show little fear of man, which has probably acted to their detriment.
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The hairy long-nosed armadillo has a very restricted range and is found only in forests in Peru.
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The greatest threat to the hairy long-nosed armadillo is habitat destruction.
As more and more forests in the Peruvian lowlands and highlands are logged or removed for agricultural reasons, the amount of suitable armadillo habitat shrinks. It is thought that hunting the armadillo, probably mostly for meat, contributes to its decreasing numbers.
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Although very little is known about the hairy long-nosed armadillo, it has received official protection in Peru. However, enforcement of that protection is spotty at best.
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Do you know of or are you a part of an organization that works to conserve the Hairy, Long-nosed Armadillo? Then please contact us to have it featured on Our Endangered World.