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Armadillo, Brazilian Three-Banded

Until its rediscovery in the early 1990s, it was believed that the Brazilian three-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus) had become extinct. This species can be distinguished by its blackish-brown armor plating, which covers the body, head and tail. The plating on the body forms two domed shells, separated by three armored bands which are joined together by flexible bands of skin. These flexible regions allow the Brazilian three-banded armadillo to roll into a ball, thereby protecting its vulnerable underparts. It is one of only two species, the other being the southern three-banded armadillo, capable of this remarkable feat. Other distinctive features of the Brazilian three-banded armadillo are the second, third and fourth toes of the hind feet, which are fused into a hoof-like claw. By contrast, the fore feet have five separate digits each bearing sharp, powerful claws.

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