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Nature has a thing about survival of the fittest. In that spirit some species of animals (whether they live in water, on land or in the sky) have gone to extremes to make sure they have whatever bonus edge they can get over their neighbors in the wild.
1. The pink fairy armadillo
What scientists like to call it: Chlamyphorus truncatus
The smallest (and, of course, pinkest) armadillo in the world favors the grasslands and sandy plains of Central Argentina as its home territory. If you happen to stumble across one in the Argentinian wilds, consider yourself extremely lucky. This ant-loving burrower keeps to life underground, preferably near anthills that can double as all-you-can-eat buffets. Usually weighing in at less than half a kilogram (about one pound), it substantially lacks in the body weight department compared to other members of the armadillo family, some of which can top the scales at 33 kilograms (nearly 73 pounds).
And while its bigger relatives are known for their armored shell, the pink fairy armadillo’s fragile back plating isn’t completely attached to its body. That pinkish tinge you’re seeing is a result of blood vessels showing through, and as you might have already guessed it’s not much good for protection, either. Instead, scientists believe its purpose is to help control body temperature, changing the pinkish hue it has as environmental temperatures rise or fall.
2. The Honduran white bat
What scientists like to call it: Ectophylla alba
If it weren’t for the fact that ‘bat’ is in its name, this fluff of white fur could be mistaken for a genetic experiment involving a hamster, a budgie and an albino rhino gone horribly haywire. Native to eastern Honduras, northern Nicaragua and parts of Costa Rica and Panama, this nocturnal fruit-eater likes to set up camp in lowland rainforests.
Speaking of camping, using the leaves of the Heliconia plant, this 5-centimeter (2-inch)-long bat creates shelter by folding a leaf into a makeshift tent. It’s the reason why it is sometimes referred to as the Honduran tent bat, and each re-jigged leaf can have a colony comprising of one male with six female companions living under it.
3. The Venezuelan poodle moth
What scientists like to call it: currently undecided
Is it, or isn’t it? That is the question often associated with the poodle moth since it was first brought to the general public’s attention in 2012. Kyrgyzstan zoologist Arthur Anker reportedly snapped 75 pictures of what some experts feel might be a relative of the muslin moth, which falls into the category of tiger moths. That’s about as far as the classification for the 2.5 centimeter-long (one inch) poodle moth goes.
‘Reportedly’ gets tagged along with this because it’s still a source of debate whether the poodle moth exists. It appears as though the pictures were taken Anker in Venezuela’s Gran Sabana region in the Canaima National Park during the winter months of 2008 and early 2009, and while it still has no genus assigned it was Anker who dubbed his find the poodle moth.
Information about this undeniably cute creature is sparse and no one seems to have been able to track down another one down in the wild since the initial discovery.
That’s not to say this is a hoax… we think. Canaima is one of the largest national parks in the world at three million hectares, and when you’re looking for something smaller than a big toe it what could be described as one of the planet’s messiest all-natural living rooms, spotting it might be a little tricky.