Say hello to one of the world's most mysterious animals

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This is one of the few photos ever taken of the giant armadillo, a five feet long behemoth that lives a nocturnal, solitary life in isolated wetlands of central Brazil. You can probably see why these things are so rare.

Twice as big as your average armadillo, the giant species likes to live in the undisturbed forests of central Brazil, remaining in underground burrows for most of the day. Their behavior patterns keep them far away from the gaze of humans, which means that they're one of the least well understood animals on the planet, particularly for something of this size.

The photo up top is the result of a camera trap set up recently in South America's Pantanal region, one of the world's biggest areas of pristine wetlands. It took ten weeks and several camera traps built by researchers from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland to get this photo and a handful of others, underscoring the immense difficulty of studying these reclusive creatures.


While we know what the giant armadillo looks like, that's practically all we know about them for certain. We don't even know for sure what they eat, although their claws do seem well-suited for digging up termite mounds, presumably to eat what's inside. It also appears that they can't do one of the most famous armadillo tricks - they're too large to roll into a ball to escape predators, which is why they burrow.

And... that's pretty much all we know. The giant armadillo is a fascinating reminder that a species doesn't have to be a cryptid for it to be a zoological mystery.


Via BBC News.