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May 2, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Animal of the Week: The Pink Fairy Armadillo

I went to the zoo during the mid-trimester break, as one does, and while I was there, I got to thinking about evolution. As one does. With some animals, it’s easy to see why they are how they are: the pygmy marmosets, for example, are tiny, so that they can hunt for insects along the pliable branches of the rainforest canopy. But, as ‘Animal of The Week’ shows on a weekly basis, much of the natural world defies explanation and logical thought. Why do giraffes have those funny, stumpy horns? What purpose do they serve? It’s a head-scratcher, all right—but giraffes’ funny, stumpy horns seem pretty self-explanatory in comparison to the pink fairy armadillo, the smallest member of the armadillo family. It looks like a white, tailless mouse with claws that are in drastic disproportion to its four-inch-long body, and an armour of pale pink scales. The females are called ‘zeds’ and the males, ‘listers’, while their collective noun is a ‘fez’ (a fez of pink fairy armadillos evokes rather spectacular imagery, doesn’t it?). The pink fairy armadillo is an endangered species in its home country of Argentina, and so in an attempt to increase numbers, permission has been granted to keep them as pets in certain American states. However, many owners have trouble providing for their fairies’ ant and larvae-based diet (see for yourself on YouTube!). Those Wolverine-esque claws are also a bit of a threat—the fairies use them to soften sand to enable burrowing. They can bury themselves in a matter of seconds if properly motivated—by food, predators, or simply the need to reflect on their absurd design and seemingly meaningless existence.

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About the Author ()

Elle started out at Salient reviewing music. In 2010, she wrote features and Animal of The Week, which an informal poll revealed to be 40% of Victoria students' favourite part of the magazine. Alongside Uther Dean, she was co-editor for 2011. In 2012, she is chief features writer.

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  1. Former Salient Something Something Michi Langdon says:

    Pics or it didn’t happen.

  2. Former Salient Something Something Michi Langdon says:

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this