Have You Ever Seen the Adorable Pink Fairy Armadillo? No? It’s…Amazing.

Tough-shelled, industrious, and very, very shy.

Smithsonian/Mother Jones illustration

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If you’re in the market for a new Pride Month mascot, look no further. When the Smithsonian tweeted a photo of the pink fairy armadillo this week, I did a double-take. What a beautiful, strange thing! At only six inches, it is the world’s smallest known armadillo; that pink-hued shell is colored by blood-vessels that help the armadillo regulate its body temperature.

It’s also very, very shy, according to this WIRED profile. Not much is known about this nocturnal and subterranean creature that burrows under the dry Argentinian grasslands with “huge claws and busy little tractor bum.” Humans rarely get a glimpse. What limited scholarship exists paints a worrying picture of a creature highly susceptible to minute environmental changes (it’s very hard to keep in captivity), and it may be under threat from farming and invasive species. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lists it as endangered.

Thanks to the Smithsonian, our hard-shelled fairy friend, a sort of real-life Pokémon, is getting a well-deserved boomlet of attention:

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We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

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