Xenarthrans | Xenarthra

Xenarthra, or Xenarthrans, are native to the Americans, specifically in South America. Most Xenarthrans are already extinct and the only living species are the tree sloth, anteaters, and armadillos. These animals have unique traits. Most of their physical features are primitive with absent, reduced, or highly specialized teeth, reduced vision, and lower metabolic rates. They are mostly solitary and practice polygamy during mating with females taking full responsibility for raising the young. Females give birth to live offspring. During an attack, some species can either roll their body into a hard-shelled ball like the three-banded armadillo or use claws for protection like the anteater.

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.

Xenarthrans Guides
Browse through our curated Xenarthrans Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Xenarthrans. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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Pink Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus)
Comparison drawing of the Pink Fairy Armadillo compared to other armadillos

The Pink Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus) is a solitary desert animal inhabiting the sun dunes, shrubby grasslands, and sandy plains of Central Argentina. It is identified by its spatula-shaped tail, flexible dorsal shell, silky yellowish white fur, and small eyes. This armadillo lacks visible ears and the rear of its tail is diamond-shaped and flat. It is nocturnal and consumes both insects and plants. Other unique features the pink fairy armadillo possesses are a torpedo-shaped body to reduce drag, relying mainly on touch and hearing, and possessing enormous claws on the front and hind limbs for digging burrows.

The Pink Fairy Armadillo has a body length in the range of 3.15”-4.7” (8-12 cm) and total weight of .22-.26 lb (.1-.12 kg). The Pink Fairy Armadillo has an estimated standing height between 1.2”-1.8” (3-4.5 cm), body width of .8”-1.2” (2-3 cm), and tail length of 1”-1.38” (2.5-3.5 cm). The typical lifespan of the Pink Fairy Armadillo is between 3-4 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Pink Fairy Armadillo
The Pink Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus) is a solitary desert animal inhabiting the sun dunes, shrubby grasslands, and sandy plains of Central Argentina. It is identified by its spatula-shaped tail, flexible dorsal shell, silky yellowish white fur, and small eyes.

The Pink Fairy Armadillo has a body length in the range of 3.15”-4.7” (8-12 cm) and total weight of .22-.26 lb (.1-.12 kg). The Pink Fairy Armadillo has an estimated standing height between 1.2”-1.8” (3-4.5 cm), body width of .8”-1.2” (2-3 cm), and tail length of 1”-1.38” (2.5-3.5 cm). The typical lifespan of the Pink Fairy Armadillo is between 3-4 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Pink Fairy Armadillo
Pink Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus)
Height:
1.2”-1.8” | 3-4.5 cm
Width:
.8”-1.2” | 2-3 cm
Length:
3.15”-4.7” | 8-12 cm (Body)
Depth:
Weight:
.22-.26 lb | .1-.12 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 1”-1.38” | 2.5-3.5 cm

Scientific Name
Chlamyphorus truncatus
Lifespan
3-4 years

Drawings include:

Pink Fairy Armadillo side view, front

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Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla)
Comparison drawing of the Southern Tamandua compared to other anteaters

The Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) is a solitary anteater found in South America and also Trinidad in distributed forests and even arid savanna. It is also called the lesser anteater or collared anteater. It is identified by its prehensile tail that is hairless at the end, a snout that is long and decurved, and very strong claws for defense and breaking termite molds. Many have the same body color as the northern tamandua with a black-vested pattern or incomplete vest. This solitary animal is nocturnal and communicates by hissing or producing a potent odor.

The Southern Tamandua has a body length in the range of 20.9”-35” (53-89 cm) and total weight of 8-19 lb (3.6-8.6 kg). The Southern Tamandua has an estimated standing height between 10.6”-17.3” (27-44 cm), body width of 8.3”-13.8” (21-35 cm), and tail length of 15.75”-23.2” (40-59 cm). The typical lifespan of the Southern Tamandua is between 7-9 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Southern Tamandua
The Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) is a solitary anteater found in South America and also Trinidad in distributed forests and even arid savanna. It is also called the lesser anteater or collared anteater. It is identified by its prehensile tail that is hairless at the end.

The Southern Tamandua has a body length in the range of 20.9”-35” (53-89 cm) and total weight of 8-19 lb (3.6-8.6 kg). The Southern Tamandua has an estimated standing height between 10.6”-17.3” (27-44 cm), body width of 8.3”-13.8” (21-35 cm), and tail length of 15.75”-23.2” (40-59 cm). The typical lifespan of the Southern Tamandua is between 7-9 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Southern Tamandua
Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla)
Height:
10.6”-17.3” | 27-44 cm
Width:
8.3”-13.8” | 21-35 cm
Length:
20.9”-35” | 53-89 cm (Body)
Depth:
Weight:
8-19 lb | 3.6-8.6 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 15.75”-23.2” | 40-59 cm

Scientific Name
Tamandua tetradactyla
Lifespan
7-9 years

Drawings include:

Southern Tamandua 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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Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus)
Comparison drawing of the Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth compared to other anteaters

The Pygmy Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) prefers coastal and red mangrove habitats. This is in the Isle Escudo de Veraguas. Being that it is arboreal, it feeds mainly on leaves and is very good at climbing trees. This is made possible by its large curved claws and limbs adapted to hanging. It is also called dwarf sloth or monk sloth. It has a buff-colored face, fur in clay-orange, and long and bushy hair on the head and shoulders, although facial hair is shorter. Females show great parental care. This sloth is solitary, prefers sedentary life, and is most active during the day.

The Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth has a body length in the range of 17.3”-20.9” (44-53 cm) and total weight of 5.5-7.7 lb (2.5-3.5 kg). The Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth has a body height between 4.7”-5.5” (12-14 cm), body width of 5.9”-6.7” (15-17 cm), and tail length of 1.6”-2.4” (4-6 cm). The typical lifespan of the Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth is between 30-40 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth
The Pygmy Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) prefers coastal and red mangrove habitats. This is in the Isle Escudo de Veraguas. Being that it is arboreal, it feeds mainly on leaves and is very good at climbing trees. This is made possible by its large curved claws and limbs adapted to hanging.

The Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth has a body length in the range of 17.3”-20.9” (44-53 cm) and total weight of 5.5-7.7 lb (2.5-3.5 kg). The Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth has a body height between 4.7”-5.5” (12-14 cm), body width of 5.9”-6.7” (15-17 cm), and tail length of 1.6”-2.4” (4-6 cm). The typical lifespan of the Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth is between 30-40 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth
Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus)
Height:
4.7”-5.5” | 12-14 cm (Body)
Width:
5.9”-6.7” | 15-17 cm
Length:
17.3”-20.9” | 44-53 cm (Body)
Depth:
Weight:
5.5-7.7 lb | 2.5-3.5 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 1.6”-2.4” | 4-6 cm

Scientific Name
Bradypus pygmaeus
Lifespan
30-40 years

Drawings include:

Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth side view, front

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