You’ve probably never seen a baby giant armadillo before. In fact, you’ve probably never even seen an adult giant armadillo. They’re “very rare,” Arnaud Desbiez, coordinator of the Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project and regional conservation coordinator for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, told National Geographic. These elusive creatures, which can weigh as much as 110 pounds (50 kg), are so rare that scientists hardly know anything about them, especially because the animals are nocturnal and live in burrows, making them particularly hard to track.
That’s where Desbiez and his team come in. They have been studying the giant armadillos (Priodontes maximus) using radio transmitters, camera traps, burrow surveys, resource monitoring and resource mapping across Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands. Their months of research paid off when they captured a baby giant baby armadillo on film for the first time ever.
A few months ago, they noticed that one of the female armadillos they were tracking appeared to be pregnant, so they set up a camera trap and waited. Eventually, they were able to capture what they believe is a now four-week old baby giant armadillo leaving the burrow for the first time with its mother. The footage is biologist gold. “Being part of this exclusive moment in the history of this species conservation and seeing the first picture of a baby giant armadillo was one of the most exciting moments of my career as a wildlife professional,” said Danilo Kluyber, a wildlife veterinarian with The Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project.