About me

I am a New World placental mammal, known for having a leathery armor shell. My name comes from a spanish word for “little armored one”. The Aztec called  me azotochtli, Nahuatl for “turtle-rabbit.”

I am a prolific digger with sharp claws. My diet varies, but consists mainly of insects, grubs, and other invertebrates. Some times, however, I feed almost entirely on ants and termites.

I have a low body temperature (33–36 °C) and basal metabolic rates (from 40–60% of that expected in a placental mammal of mass similar to mine).

I have poor vision, but large eyes.

The armor is formed by plates of dermal bone covered in relatively small, overlapping epidermal scales called “scutes”, composed of bone with a covering of horn. The underside of my body is not armored, and is simply covered with soft skin and fur.

This armor-like skin appears to be my main defense, although I escape predators by fleeing (often into thorny patches, from which my armor protects me) or digging to safety.

I have short legs but can move quite quickly, and have the ability to remain underwater for as long as six minutes. Because of the density of my armor, I will sink in water unless I inflate my stomach and intestines with air, which often doubles my size and allows me to swim across narrow bodies of water.

I use my claws for digging and finding food, as well as for making my home in burrows. I dig my burrows with my claws, only making a single corridor where I fit myself. I have five clawed toes on the hindfeet, and three to five toes with heavy digging claws on the forefeet. I have a large number of cheek teeth, which are not divided into premolars and molars, but usually have incisors or canines.

You can learn more about me at Google+