For the first time ever, scientists working in the Brazilian Pantanal have documented the birth of a giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus). These solitary creatures, which can weigh as much as 110 pounds (50 kg), are so elusive that some consider them more myth than reality. But when a team of biologists suspected that a female under observation was pregnant, they set up a camera trap — and their patience paid off.
Back in 2011, the researchers noticed a male hanging out near the female's den. Actually, he was so smitten that they even observed him visiting his girlfriend's unoccupied burrows. Eventually, the two moved in together, but after a few days the male disappeared (hmmm, this whole thing sounds suspiciously like my last relationship).
Five months later, this little guy made an appearance:
The researchers believe the baby giant was about four weeks old at the time.
Zoologists now know that giant armadillos give birth to one baby at a time — which is not good news for this low-density species. Giant armadillos are already listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
Source and images: Mongabay — where there's lots more to the story.