• David is a Deputy News Editor specializing in coverage of science policy, energy and the environment.

Video: Baby Giant Armadillo Ready for Its Close-Up

19 February 2013 5:30 pm
Credit: Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project

No rattling toys required, but patience was a plus: Brazilian researchers have taken the first baby portrait of the rare and reclusive giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) of South America. A camera trap documented the 4-week-old armadillo late last year as it followed its mother to a new burrow in Brazil's Pantanal, one of the world's largest tropical wetlands. "It took 3 years of hard work to get these images," says Arnaud Desbiez, coordinator of the Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project, which tracks the largely nocturnal threatened species, each of which can weigh up to 50 kilograms. Scientists don't know much about the animal's sex life, project researchers say, but the photos support the idea that giant armadillos raise just one offspring at a time. Such information could help conservationists develop plans for protecting the species, which is threatened by habitat loss and other problems.

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