Head and body length, 30-40 cm; tail, 6-8 cm
Unknown; populations declining
Tropical deciduous forests and open dry savannas of northeastern and east-central Brazil
Snap! The three-banded armadillo seems to be leaving gaps in its armor when it rolls into a protective ball. But poke it on the chest or abdomen and, as would-be predators have discovered the hard way, its shells snap shut like a steel trap. The only armadillo able to roll into a perfect ball, this perfect insect eater is well protected from most predators. A perfect ball provides imperfect poachers, however; they simply carry it off. Hunting and habitat loss have ravaged populations, and it is already considered extinct over some portions of its range. In the end, humans are the real chink in this armadillo's armor.