If you’re in the market for a new Pride Month mascot, look no further. When the Smithsonian tweeted a photo of the pink fairy armadillo this week, I did a double-take. What a beautiful, strange thing! At only six inches, it is the world’s smallest known armadillo; that pink-hued shell is colored by blood-vessels that help the armadillo regulate its body temperature.
It’s also very, very shy, according to this WIRED profile. Not much is known about this nocturnal and subterranean creature that burrows under the dry Argentinian grasslands with “huge claws and busy little tractor bum.” Humans rarely get a glimpse. What limited scholarship exists paints a worrying picture of a creature highly susceptible to minute environmental changes (it’s very hard to keep in captivity), and it may be under threat from farming and invasive species. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lists it as endangered.
Thanks to the Smithsonian, our hard-shelled fairy friend, a sort of real-life Pokémon, is getting a well-deserved boomlet of attention:
You know an animal is special when your social media manager has to check to make sure it's real.
Meet the pink fairy armadillo. At about 6 inches long, it's the world's smallest armadillo. The shell’s color comes from blood vessels close to the surface. https://t.co/c345qKajqr pic.twitter.com/5HU40yg2TG
— Smithsonian (@smithsonian) June 14, 2021
Illustrations of the pink fairy armadillo from 1828, from a pamphlet in our archives. pic.twitter.com/EnYrTq9SAF
— Royal Institution (@Ri_Science) June 17, 2021
The Pink Fairy Armadillo
so many of you need this on your TL! ☺️ https://t.co/SEc7FPljvI
— Spork (@RuncibleSpork) June 15, 2021