Guys, how is it possible that this animal existed and I did not know about it. I'm really upset that no one told me that on Earth, right now, there is such a thing as A TINY PINK ARMADILLO.
In its native homeland of central Argentina, it's known as the Pichiciego. But its English name (which is almost as magical as the tiny creature itself) is the Pink Fairy Armadillo.
PINK. FAIRY. ARMADILLO.
HAVE YOU EVER SEEN AN ANIMAL THIS WEIRD AND ADORABLE?
It's like if a prairie dog and an armadillo had a baby. Or if cotton candy and an armadillo had a baby. Or just I DON'T EVEN KNOW. HOW DOES THIS THING EVEN EXIST.
I'm no expert, but – actually, you know what? Screw that. I have the Internet. I AM an expert on cute baby animals, goshdarnit! And (remember, you heard it here first!) – these guys are the next sloths. Yes, I'm serious. Remember when we all loved cats? And then we became obsessed with sloths?
Well, this time next time, OUR COLLECTIVE FAVORITE ANIMAL WILL BE THE PINK FAIRY ARMADILLO. You just wait and see.
I mean, look at its adorably weird and awkward body! It's got a pink scaly shell that acts as its adorable wearable radiator. It's pink because it's full of blood vessels, and the PFA (PINK FAIRY ARMADILLO, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO FORGET) can pump blood through it to cool itself off when its gets too hot in its arid desert habitat. Or, when it gets cold, it can keep all its blood in its tiny body (which is covered in fluffy white fur).
THE PFA IS FREAKIN' AMAZING, YOU GUYS.
It also has the WEIRDEST tail in the entire universe:
It looks like a little spatula or something! The PFA is thought to use this tiny rudder as a fifth leg, so to speak, to balance itself while it's burrowing around 6 inches under the ground.
Oh, I should mention this – the PFA lives about 6 inches underground. All the time. It's rarely seen and has been studied very little; even scientists who have studied the thing for over a decade have – get this – never seen one in the wild. And being fragile, tiny, adorable, easily stressed creatures, it's very hard for them to survive in captivity. So basically what I'm saying is, THE PINK FAIRY ARMADILLO IS A GIANT MYSTERY. NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT IT. (Okay, they know a few things. But still.) IT'S LIKE THE ILLUMINATI OF THE ANIMAL KINGDOM.
And consequently, scientists actually aren't even able to calculate a reasonable estimate of their population. They could be really, really endangered, or there could be tons of them, burrowing around right under everybody's noses, having tiny pink-shelled babies. We just don't know.
ALSO, HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT THEIR BUTTS?
The back of their shells are blunt and flat, and act as little compactors – so when our Pink Fairy friend is burrowing around with his oversized claws (which you'll be able to see better in the videos below), his butt is pushing the dirt he's already dug up behind him, giving him more room to breathe and dig and armadillo all over the place. YEAH. IT'S AMAZING. I KNOW.
Here's a gif so you can fully understand the awesomeness of their digging style. See how his flat butt pushes the dirt behind him?
I AM IN AWE OF THE CUTENESS OF THE PICHICIEGO. YOU GO, LITTLE GUY. BURROW TO FREEDOM.
Like how are they so calm in the presence of humans? WHAT PEACE OF MIND. WHAT ELEGANCE.
And look at this little guy. What's he looking for in the dirt?? A nice digging place, perhaps? Maybe he's looking for my heart, because HE TOTALLY STOLE IT. BOOM.
If you want to learn more about the Pink Fairy Armadillo / Pichiciego / Best Animal In The World, check out this great article from Wired.