All About the Xenurine

The Xenurine refers to four species of cabassous. It is a group of armadillos that are not commonly talked about anymore.

The term seems relatively obsolete, although this creature is magnificent and worthy of attention.

What You Should Know

The Xenurine, or cabassous, are a group of armadillo species that live mainly in South America. Most commonly, they are called naked-tailed armadillos. The Northern naked-tailed armadillo lives outside South America in Mexico as well. It prefers to live among the tropical dry forest, cloud forest and on the edges of these forests. This solitary insectivore feeds on termites and ants. It spends the majority of its time digging in tunnels, rotating its body as it digs. It rarely spends any time outside of its burrow, except to find food. That’s what makes it so difficult for scientists to study it further.

What Sound Do They Make?

The naked-tailed armadillo will make a low growling sound if it gets captured. It’s also been heard squealing, but it’s challenging to find a record of these sounds anywhere. When it is captured, it will defecate and urinate as another means of discouraging entrapment. Still, it’s nothing like the sound of a screaming armadillo.

If you haven’t heard it before, you can get a taste of it on this site:

Group Characteristics

Mothers of the southern naked-tailed armadillo give birth to one newborn at a time. They are blind, hairless and deaf when first born. All the baby armadillos have pink skin and the scutes are immediately visible. Typically they will live for up to seven years.

Reproduction of the xenurine occurs year-round. They don’t seem to have a set mating season.

How Many Are There?

The xenurine is listed as Least Concern through the IUCN. Some it’s top threats include the development of livestock farming ranches and timber manufacturing. This hurts the armadillo’s habitat. It also suffers from hunting and trapping, which decreases the population. There are also times that the animal is killed simply because it is seen as a nuisance, even though it doesn’t harm humans or livestock.

Pop Culture

It’s difficult to find the xenurine in anything to do with popular culture, especially since the term is rarely used anymore. As far as the armadillo goes, there are several places where this animal shows up. One of the first times the world saw a film version of this animal was in the 1943 animated short, Pluto and the Armadillo. This armadillo didn’t have a name, but it was a friend to Pluto. We also know about Annette, the armadillo which showed up during the Bear in the Big Blue House fourth season.

Interesting Facts

A Chacoan naked-tailed armadillo is the tiniest of the xenurine. It only measures about 12 inches long, while the others reach up to 18 inches. It also has smaller ears with a flesh expansion featured on its forward edge, which the other varieties don’t have. This armadillo lives among the Gran Chaco region of north-central Argentina and western Paraguay. Sometimes, it’s also found in Bolivia or Brazil, but not often. This species prefers to live among the humid and semi-arid habitats. That’s why it lives in the open forest. The Chacoan naked-tailed armadillo is nocturnal and likes to burrow, just like its relatives. It also makes a grunting call plus it gives birth to one baby at a time.

The Cabassous’s body lacks its protective plates on the body. They are also referred to as eleven-banded armadillos because of how many bands it has. This armor is different than some of the other armadillo breeds.