South American folklore tells rather a sad tale of an armadillo who wished he could sing. The armadillo approached the wizard to beg a favour: he asked the wizard to help him sing like the frogs and the crickets and the canaries. Even if it meant death the armadillo wanted to sing, such he told the wizard. Though the wizard was reluctant to slay such a fine armadillo he carried out the wish. He killed the armadillo, and from his shell made a fine musical instrument, which the wizard gave to the best musician in town.
Far from being killed for their shell in the present day – they are protected species. Here are three species you might easily spot in Uruguay:
Southern Long-Nosed Armadillo known as a Mulita in Uruguay is seen on a very regular basis on our Uruguay rides.
Scientific Name- Dasypus hybridus
· The Southern Long-Nosed Armadillo is one of the smallest of the long-nosed armadillos.
· The most southerly of the Dasypus armadillos and can be found in Argentina, Uruguay and in the east of Brazil.
Nine-Banded Armadillo – known as a Tatú in Uruguay, less common than the Mulita but normally seen on rides.
Scientific Name- Dasypus novemcinctus
· The Nine-Banded Armadillo can jump four to five feet (1.2-1.5 metres) high when startled, surprising predators.
· Armadillos can cross bodies of water in two ways: they can inflate their stomachs and intestines with air and float across the water, or they can use their claws to walk across the bottom after sinking down.
Six-Banded Armadillo, known as a Peludo in Uruguay, is a little more difficult to see, but often sighted on rides.
Scientific Name- Euphractus sexcinctus
· Unlike other armadillos, they are active during the day, and come out at night only selectively…
· The Six-Banded Armadillo cannot form into a ball to defend itself. Instead, it relies on diving down into burrows which it dashes to at any sign of danger
There is also a Giant Armadillo, typically reaching 32.5kg (72lbs) in weight! You have to join us on the Pantanal safari (Brazil) for the tiniest chance of seeing one – but we almost always see a jaguar, tapirs, giant anteaters and many bird species such as toucans and several species of macaw including the magnificent hyacinth macaws.
For more about the different flora and fauna that you will see when riding in Uruguay and the protected areas that we visit, contact us with questions while digging into the ‘tours,’ featured on this site.