Xenarthrans | Xenarthra

Xenarthrans | Xenarthra

Description
Description

Xenarthrans, or Xenarthra, are a unique group of placental mammals known for their distinctive vertebral structures. This superorder includes armadillos, sloths, and anteaters, which are primarily found in Latin America. Their evolutionary history traces back to the Paleocene era, around 59 million years ago. Xenarthrans exhibit a variety of habitats, from rainforests to grasslands. Armadillos are known for their bony armor and burrowing habits. Sloths are tree-dwellers, renowned for their slow movement and metabolic rates. Anteaters are adapted for a diet of insects, with elongated snouts and specialized tongues. These creatures are integral parts of their ecosystems, playing significant roles in soil aeration, tree growth, and insect population control.

Anatomy
Anatomy

Xenarthrans, a group encompassing armadillos, sloths, and anteaters, are known for their specialized anatomies. Armadillos boast protective bony plates, while sloths have elongated limbs for tree-climbing and hanging. Anteaters feature long snouts and tongues for insect consumption. Xenarthrans are generally slow movers; sloths are famously leisurely, conserving energy with slow, deliberate movements. Speech isn't a prominent feature, but they do communicate through various sounds and scents. Their senses are adapted to their lifestyles; for example, anteaters have an acute sense of smell to locate food, while sloths rely on vision and touch to navigate their arboreal habitats. These adaptations make them fascinatingly unique among mammals.

Human Interaction
Human Interaction

Humans have long been fascinated by the unique characteristics of Xenarthrans, with sloths becoming symbols of relaxation and anteaters appearing in various forms of media due to their distinct appearance. Conservation efforts are critical for many species within this group, as habitat destruction and human encroachment pose significant threats. Organizations worldwide are working to protect their natural environments and raise awareness about their plights. In pop culture, characters like Flash the sloth from "Zootopia" have endeared these creatures to the public, helping to increase interest in their conservation. Efforts continue to ensure these remarkable animals remain a part of our world's biodiversity.

Common Questions
Common Questions
What are the primary traits of a Xenarthran?

Xenarthrans include anteaters, armadillos, and sloths. The most common feature they share is possessing limbs with sharp claws. These limbs are adapted to digging and climbing. Other features include extra joints on their backbone, possession of ossified sternal ribs, and a secondary scapular spine. They also have low metabolic rates and internal testes.

What do Xenarthrans eat?

Not all Xenarthrans have the same diet. Anteaters are mostly insectivores feeding on ants and termites, while sloths are folivorous feeding on leaves and twigs. Armadillos are omnivores, feeding on plant matter and small animals. The shape of their claws and dental formulas can be used to identify the food a Xenarthran eats.

What are the common habitats for Xenarthrans?

Xenarthrans are found in the Americas, specifically South and Central America. This is in the tropical rainforest and even temperate grasslands. In these environments, you will find sloths being arboreal while armadillos and anteaters are terrestrials. Besides, they are also solitary and can be nocturnal or diurnal. However, this will depend on the area a Xenarthran lives in.

Animals

* Under Development *

5.9”-12.2” | 15-31 cm (Body)
7.1”-14.2” | 18-36 cm
16.5”-31.5” | 42-80 cm (Body)
4.9-13.9 lb | 2.2-6.3 kg
25-40 years
Brown-Throated Three-Toed Sloth
31.000
36.000
80.000
6.300
40.00
1750
GUIDE
3D
Brown-Throated Three-Toed Sloth
21.7”-25.6” | 55-65 cm
11.8”-13.8” | 30-35 cm
39.4”-47.2” | 100-120 cm (Body)
60-110 lb | 27-50 kg
14-26 years
Giant Anteater
65.000
35.000
120.000
50.000
26.00
23400
GUIDE
3D
Giant Anteater
12.2”-16.1” | 31-41 cm
11.4”-14.6” | 29-37 cm
29.5”-37.8” | 75-96 cm (Body)
39.7-72.8 lb | 18-33 kg
12-16 years
Giant Armadillo
41.000
37.000
96.000
33.000
16.00
11600
GUIDE
3D
Giant Armadillo
6.3”-8.7” | 16-22 cm (Body)
7.1”-9.8” | 18-25 cm
21.25”-29.1” | 54-74 cm (Body)
9.9-23.1 lb | 4.5-10.5 kg
12-43 years
Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloth
22.000
25.000
74.000
10.500
43.00
1300
GUIDE
3D
Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloth
6.3”-10.2” | 16-26 cm (Body)
7.1”-11.8” | 18-30 cm
21.25”-34.6” | 54-88 cm (Body)
8.8-24.3 lb | 4-11 kg
20-40 years
Linnaeus's Two-Toed Sloth
26.000
30.000
88.000
11.000
40.00
1000
GUIDE
3D
Linnaeus's Two-Toed Sloth
6.7”-10.2” | 17-26 cm (Body)
8.7”-11.8” | 22-30 cm
21.7”-29.9” | 55-76 cm (Body)
8.8-22 lb | 4-10 kg
12-40 years
Maned Three-Toed Sloth
26.000
30.000
76.000
10.000
40.00
1000
GUIDE
3D
Maned Three-Toed Sloth
7.1”-11” | 18-28 cm
7.1”-10.2” | 18-26 cm
15”-22.8” | 38-58 cm (Body)
17.6-37.5 lb | 8-17 kg
12-23 years
Nine-banded Armadillo
28.000
26.000
58.000
17.000
23.00
5400
GUIDE
3D
Nine-banded Armadillo
9”-15” | 23-38 cm
7.5”-11.8” | 19-30 cm
18.5”-30.3” | 47-77 cm (Body)
6.6-12 lb | 3-5.4 kg
7-10 years
Northern Tamandua
38.000
30.000
77.000
5.400
10.00
2500
GUIDE
3D
Northern Tamandua
6.3”-9.8” | 16-25 cm (Body)
7.5”-11.8” | 19-30 cm
18.1”-29.9” | 46-76 cm (Body)
6.6-14.3 lb | 3-6.5 kg
30-40 years
Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth
25.000
30.000
76.000
6.500
40.00
1030
GUIDE
3D
Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth
Pichi
20150
4.7”-7.1” | 12-18 cm
4.1”-5.9” | 10.5-15 cm
10.2”-13.8” | 26-35 cm (Body)
1.5-3.3 lb | .7-1.5 kg
9-13 years
Pichi
18.000
15.000
35.000
1.500
13.00
20150
GUIDE
3D
Pichi
1.2”-1.8” | 3-4.5 cm
.8”-1.2” | 2-3 cm
3.15”-4.7” | 8-12 cm (Body)
.22-.26 lb | .1-.12 kg
3-4 years
Pink Fairy Armadillo
4.500
3.000
12.000
0.120
4.00
27600
GUIDE
3D
Pink Fairy Armadillo
4.7”-5.5” | 12-14 cm (Body)
5.9”-6.7” | 15-17 cm
17.3”-20.9” | 44-53 cm (Body)
5.5-7.7 lb | 2.5-3.5 kg
30-40 years
Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth
14.000
17.000
53.000
3.500
40.00
2950
GUIDE
3D
Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth
4.3”-8.3” | 11-21 cm
3.9”-7.1” | 10-18 cm
8.7”-16.5” | 22-42 cm (Body)
.66-2.9 lb | .3-1.3 kg
9-16 years
Screaming Hairy Armadillo
21.000
18.000
42.000
1.300
16.00
2650
GUIDE
3D
Screaming Hairy Armadillo
9”-11.4” | 23-29 cm
7.1”-8.7” | 18-22 cm
13.8”-17.7” | 35-45 cm (Body)
.4-.9 lb | .18-.4 kg
2-3 years
Silky Anteater
29.000
22.000
45.000
0.400
3.00
6900
GUIDE
3D
Silky Anteater
7.5”-9.8” | 19-25 cm
6.3”-7.9” | 16-20 cm
15.75”-19.7” | 40-50 cm (Body)
7.1-14.3 lb | 3.2-6.5 kg
15-22 years
Six-Banded Armadillo
25.000
20.000
50.000
6.500
22.00
820
GUIDE
3D
Six-Banded Armadillo
10.6”-17.3” | 27-44 cm
8.3”-13.8” | 21-35 cm
20.9”-35” | 53-89 cm (Body)
8-19 lb | 3.6-8.6 kg
7-9 years
Southern Tamandua
44.000
35.000
89.000
8.600
9.00
3500
GUIDE
3D
Southern Tamandua
Screaming Hairy Armadillo (Chaetophractus vellerosus)
Scale illustration of an average Screaming Hairy Armadillo compared to other armadillo species

The Screaming Hairy Armadillo (Chaetophractus vellerosus) is considered the hairiest armadillo. The hair is white and light brown and covers the limbs, belly, and between scutes. The rest of the body is covered in thick armor that is moveable, allowing the animal to curl up if threatened. It is also the smallest and known as the crying armadillo, small screaming armadillo, or small hairy armadillo, endemic to central and south South America in places with loose sandy soils, savanna, and sun dunes. It is a solitary species that loves to burrow a lot. Besides, it is omnivorous and gives birth to live young ones. During winter, it is diurnal but nocturnal in summer.

The Screaming Hairy Armadillo has a body length in the range of 8.7”-16.5” (22-42 cm) and total weight of .66-2.9 lb (.3-1.3 kg). The Screaming Hairy Armadillo has an estimated standing height between 4.3”-8.3” (11-21 cm), body width of 3.9”-7.1” (10-18 cm), and tail length of 3.5”-7.1” (9-18 cm). The typical lifespan of the Screaming Hairy Armadillo is between 9-16 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Screaming Hairy Armadillo
The Screaming Hairy Armadillo (Chaetophractus vellerosus) is considered the hairiest armadillo. The hair is white and light brown and covers the limbs, belly, and between scutes. The rest of the body is covered in thick armor that is moveable, allowing the animal to curl up if threatened.

The Screaming Hairy Armadillo has a body length in the range of 8.7”-16.5” (22-42 cm) and total weight of .66-2.9 lb (.3-1.3 kg). The Screaming Hairy Armadillo has an estimated standing height between 4.3”-8.3” (11-21 cm), body width of 3.9”-7.1” (10-18 cm), and tail length of 3.5”-7.1” (9-18 cm). The typical lifespan of the Screaming Hairy Armadillo is between 9-16 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Screaming Hairy Armadillo
Screaming Hairy Armadillo (Chaetophractus vellerosus)
Height:
4.3”-8.3” | 11-21 cm
Width:
3.9”-7.1” | 10-18 cm
Length:
8.7”-16.5” | 22-42 cm (Body)
Depth:
Weight:
.66-2.9 lb | .3-1.3 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 3.5”-7.1” | 9-18 cm

Scientific Name
Chaetophractus vellerosus
Lifespan
9-16 years

Drawings include:

Screaming Hairy Armadillo side view, front

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Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)
Comparison drawing of the Giant Anteater compared to other anteaters

The most common feature of the Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is the long distinctive snout covering a long tongue. It is the largest in the family of anteaters and is mostly found in the forests, grasslands, and swamps of Central and South America. It is insectivorous and terrestrial. The giant anteater has a distinctive colored pelage, bushy tail, elongated snout, long fore claws, and small eyes and ears. The fur on the body is thick and coarse and brown with occasional strips of black and white on the shoulder. It is a solitary animal, except for mating or mothers with young ones. Besides, it is diurnal.

The Giant Anteater has a body length in the range of 39.4”-47.2” (100-120 cm) and total weight of 60-110 lb (27-50 kg). The Giant Anteater has an estimated standing height between 21.7”-25.6” (55-65 cm), body width of 11.8”-13.8” (30-35 cm), and tail length of 25.6”-35.4” (65-90 cm). The typical lifespan of the Giant Anteater is between 14-26 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Giant Anteater
The most common feature of the Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is the long distinctive snout covering a long tongue. It is the largest in the family of anteaters and is mostly found in the forests, grasslands, and swamps of Central and South America. It is insectivorous and terrestrial.

The Giant Anteater has a body length in the range of 39.4”-47.2” (100-120 cm) and total weight of 60-110 lb (27-50 kg). The Giant Anteater has an estimated standing height between 21.7”-25.6” (55-65 cm), body width of 11.8”-13.8” (30-35 cm), and tail length of 25.6”-35.4” (65-90 cm). The typical lifespan of the Giant Anteater is between 14-26 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Giant Anteater
Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)
Height:
21.7”-25.6” | 55-65 cm
Width:
11.8”-13.8” | 30-35 cm
Length:
39.4”-47.2” | 100-120 cm (Body)
Depth:
Weight:
60-110 lb | 27-50 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 25.6”-35.4” | 65-90 cm

Scientific Name
Myrmecophaga tridactyla
Lifespan
14-26 years

Drawings include:

Giant Anteater side view, front

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Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus)
Comparison drawing of the Giant Armadillo compared to other armadillos

The Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus) feeds on termites and ground invertebrates. It is the largest of the armadillo species living in South America, preferring savanna, tropical rainforests, and semiarid woodlands. This armadillo spots an enlarged central claw with bony scales covering the carapace. The carapace is lighter on the ventral part and black/gray on the dorsal part. The belly is naked, wrinkly, and pink. The head is conical and pentagonal scales cover the legs and tail. The front claws are extremely long for digging termite mold and searching for prey. It has more teeth than any other terrestrial animal.

The Giant Armadillo has a body length in the range of 29.5”-37.8” (75-96 cm) and total weight of 39.7-72.8 lb (18-33 kg). The Giant Armadillo has an estimated standing height between 12.2”-16.1” (31-41 cm), body width of 11.4”-14.6” (29-37 cm), and tail length of 19.7”-23.6” (50-60 cm). The typical lifespan of the Giant Armadillo is between 12-16 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Giant Armadillo
The Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus) feeds on termites and ground invertebrates. It is the largest of the armadillo species living in South America, preferring savanna, tropical rainforests, and semiarid woodlands. This armadillo spots an enlarged central claw with scales covering the carapace.

The Giant Armadillo has a body length in the range of 29.5”-37.8” (75-96 cm) and total weight of 39.7-72.8 lb (18-33 kg). The Giant Armadillo has an estimated standing height between 12.2”-16.1” (31-41 cm), body width of 11.4”-14.6” (29-37 cm), and tail length of 19.7”-23.6” (50-60 cm). The typical lifespan of the Giant Armadillo is between 12-16 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Giant Armadillo
Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus)
Height:
12.2”-16.1” | 31-41 cm
Width:
11.4”-14.6” | 29-37 cm
Length:
29.5”-37.8” | 75-96 cm (Body)
Depth:
Weight:
39.7-72.8 lb | 18-33 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 19.7”-23.6” | 50-60 cm

Scientific Name
Priodontes maximus
Lifespan
12-16 years

Drawings include:

Giant Armadillo side view, front

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Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth (Bradypus tridactylus)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth to other species of anteaters

The lack of tail and external ears, a slightly rounded head, and a blunt nose are the features used to identify the Pale-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus tridactylus). It is found in the tropical rainforest in southern Central America to north-eastern Argentina in trees with dense foliage. The hair is long and coarse, with some patches of small visible algae, giving it a greenish appearance. Males are identified by an orange or bright yellow patch on their backs. This sloth is arboreal, solitary, existing only inside the forest. It is also slow-moving, an excellent swimmer, and is mostly found hanging upside down. Though it can stand on its feet, it cannot walk on them.

The Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth has a body length in the range of 18.1”-29.9” (46-76 cm) and total weight of 6.6-14.3 lb (3-6.5 kg). The Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth has a body height between 6.3”-9.8” (16-25 cm), body width of 7.5”-11.8” (19-30 cm), and tail length of .8”-4.3” (2-11 cm). The typical lifespan of the Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth is between 30-40 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth in various poses with dimensions
The lack of tail and external ears, a slightly rounded head, and a blunt nose are the features used to identify the Pale-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus tridactylus). It is found in the tropical rainforest in southern Central America to north-eastern Argentina in trees with dense foliage.

The Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth has a body length in the range of 18.1”-29.9” (46-76 cm) and total weight of 6.6-14.3 lb (3-6.5 kg). The Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth has a body height between 6.3”-9.8” (16-25 cm), body width of 7.5”-11.8” (19-30 cm), and tail length of .8”-4.3” (2-11 cm). The typical lifespan of the Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth is between 30-40 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth in various poses with dimensions
Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth (Bradypus tridactylus)
Height:
6.3”-9.8” | 16-25 cm (Body)
Width:
7.5”-11.8” | 19-30 cm
Length:
18.1”-29.9” | 46-76 cm (Body)
Depth:
Weight:
6.6-14.3 lb | 3-6.5 kg
Area:

Tail Length: .8”-4.3” | 2-11 cm

Scientific Name
Bradypus tridactylus
Lifespan
30-40 years

Drawings include:

Pale-Throated Three-Toed Sloth side view, front

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Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana)
Scale illustration of an average Northern Tamandua compared to other anteater species

The most obvious place to find the Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) is in the arid savanna, plantations, and rainforests of Central America. This anteater is easy to identify with its prehensile tail, long snout, and small eyes and ears. The body is covered in yellow fur with a distinct black patch over the back and shoulders. The forelimbs have four toes and the hind limbs have five toes. Its fur is short, bristly, dense, and coarse. Females give birth to live young that they care for. These animals are solitary, arboreal except during feeding, and are active during the day and night. It communicates by hissing or producing a potent odor.

The Northern Tamandua has a body length in the range of 18.5”-30.3” (47-77 cm) and total weight of 6.6-12 lb (3-5.4 kg). The Northern Tamandua has an estimated standing height between 9”-15” (23-38 cm), body width of 7.5”-11.8” (19-30 cm), and tail length of 15.75”-26.8” (40-68 cm). The typical lifespan of the Northern Tamandua is between 7-10 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Northern Tamandua
The most obvious place to find the Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) is in the arid savanna, plantations, and rainforests of Central America. This anteater is easy to identify with its prehensile tail, long snout, and small eyes and ears. The body is covered in yellow fur with a black patch.

The Northern Tamandua has a body length in the range of 18.5”-30.3” (47-77 cm) and total weight of 6.6-12 lb (3-5.4 kg). The Northern Tamandua has an estimated standing height between 9”-15” (23-38 cm), body width of 7.5”-11.8” (19-30 cm), and tail length of 15.75”-26.8” (40-68 cm). The typical lifespan of the Northern Tamandua is between 7-10 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Northern Tamandua
Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana)
Height:
9”-15” | 23-38 cm
Width:
7.5”-11.8” | 19-30 cm
Length:
18.5”-30.3” | 47-77 cm (Body)
Depth:
Weight:
6.6-12 lb | 3-5.4 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 15.75”-26.8” | 40-68 cm

Scientific Name
Tamandua mexicana
Lifespan
7-10 years

Drawings include:

Northern Tamandua side view, front

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