Pichi, Zaedyus pichiy

The pichi (Zaedyus pichiy), also known as the dwarf armadillo, is a species of armadillo that can be found in a range that extends from the Straits of Magellan to Argentina. It prefers a habitat within desert scrublands, grasslands, and steppe habitats where it burrows into the sand. It is typically found at elevations between sea level and 8,202 feet above sea level. The home ranges of each individual tend to be large and females can give birth to one or two young each breeding season.

The pichi can reach a body length of about one foot, with a tail length that reaches between four and six inches. Its body is light brown in color and a thick carapace protects it from predators. When threatened, this armadillo will bury itself in a small hole, which makes it difficult for a predator to extract.

The pichi is not abundant in some areas of its range and its population numbers are declining. It is threatened by hunting, some food competition, and an unknown disease that has affected some local populations. It does occur in many protected areas, but hunting remains to be its largest threat. The pichi appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Near Threatened.”

Image Caption: Chaetophractus villosus. Credit: Prissantenbär/Wikipedia