Genus Calyptophractus

Greater fairy armadillo

One species of greater fairy armadillo (C. retusus) is recognized. The greater fairy armadillo was previously considered to be closely related to the pink fairy armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus) but more recent evidence has shown it deserves its own genus.

Calyptophractus retusus

Greater Fairy Armadillo


Chaco region of western and central Bolivia, Paraguay, and extreme northern Argentina.

Size and Weight:

Head and body length: 140 — 175 mm (5.5 — 6.9 in).
Tail length: 35 mm (1.4 in).
Weight: Unspecified.


C. retusus is larger than the lesser or pink fairy armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus). The shell plates are whitish or yellowish brown. Body hair is whitish and wooly. C. retusus resembles C. truncatus except the shell is securely attached to the body along its entire length, and the tail is rounded and partly covered with plates.


The greater fairy armadillo inhabits dry grasslands and sandy plains with thorn bushes and cactus.


C. retusus is not as rapid a burrower as C. truncatus; it probably presses body close to ground rather than burrowing if it is threatened. C. retusus has been reported to emit cries similar to those of human infants. C. retusus feeds primarily on ants and ant larvae; they are also known to eat worms, snails, roots and other plant material.


C. retusus does not do well in captivity. C. retusus is listed by the IUCN as vulnerable due to habitat loss and predation by domestic dogs.

Greater fairy armadillo

I do not currently have a photograph of C. retusus on this website. has an image of C. retusus, as well as several other armadillo images. (Note: Terrambiente website is in Italian.)

Do you have a picture of C. retusus that you would like to donate to this site? Please see the Armadillos Wanted page to see how you can help.


Nowak, R.M. 1999. Walker’s Mammals of the World, 6th edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 158-168.

Additional references listed on the Sources and Credits page.


IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

USDI: United States Department of the Interior

CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

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