Greater fairy armadillo

(Calyptophractus retusus)

other common names

Chacoan fairy armadillo


Order: Cingulata
Family: Chlamyphoridae
Subfamily: Chlamyphorinae


This small armadillo has a head-body length of 12–17 cm and a tail that is 3–4 cm long. It weighs 90–130 grams. It is mole-like, with a fusiform shape, enlarged digging claws and a vertical, rounded plate that caps the rump. In contrast to Chlamyphorus truncatus, in this species the pinkish carapace is completely attached to the skin of the back and the head. Other differences to C. truncatus are the rounded tip of the tail and the visible ears.


The greater fairy armadillo occurs in the Gran Chaco region of central and south-eastern Bolivia, western Paraguay, and northern Argentina.


This species is endemic to the Chaco region, where it is confined to areas with soft and sandy soil. As a consequence, the population is patchily distributed.

Calyptophractus retusus is subterranean, possibly nocturnal, and solitary.


This species seems to be insectivorous, eating subterranean invertebrates and their larvae.


Nothing is known about the reproduction of greater fairy armadillos. They presumably give birth to a single young.

curious facts

This small armadillo is highly fossorial and is therefore rarely seen aboveground.


Calyptophractus retusus may be under threat from habitat loss in the Chaco region. In part of its range, it is persecuted because of traditional beliefs that seeing one is an omen of bad luck.

Population trend


conservation status

Calyptophractus retusus is classified as Data Deficient because virtually nothing is known about this species. It is known to be patchily distributed in appropriate microhabitats that are subject to ongoing habitat loss.