Edentates - this is one of the few groups of South American mammals, which were able to survive after the Pliocene and Pleistocene fauna of North America have come to the Isthmus of Panama in South America previously isolated. The majority of animal groups that were formed in South America in isolation, died shortly after the event. However, this kind of animal could not only survive but even to settle in the opposite direction: to colonize North America (it's made giant sloths and armadillos), but there they are likely to have been destroyed by man. The historical era battleship devyatipoyasny also penetrated far to the north, but the ice age, ended the human epoch, threw the thermophilic species further south.
In South America, the evolution edentates lasted more successful, although the disappearance of tropical forests has led to the extinction of all sloths. But in Neocene armadillos have made a significant evolutionary success. Among them were digging and specialized insectivorous species, and one species of these animals has evolved in a very peculiar creature.
When you first look at this animal can not understand who he is and who he is a relative. His physique this beast looks more like a cartoon donkey, clad in armor like the old horse. But this beast has a significant difference from the horses and donkeys, known to man - on it is not artificially made armor and his own shell. This creature - a peculiar kind of running around battleships, battleship donkey or tattoo Burro. Tatu Burro partly lost its characteristic battleships habits: he does not dig burrows, and leads exclusively terrestrial life. The carapace of the animal became very strong: it protects the animal from predators. donkey armadillo armor consists of several articulated movable parts. A solid shield, covered with a variety of horny tubercles, protects the shoulders and back of the neck of the animal. The second plate-like animal is on the rump. There are several narrow belts between them on the body, which is only partly make the body moving. The animal thin tail covered with small horny scutes.
the Neck of the donkey armadillo is protected by plates on the sides and top, and grows a thick frontal plate on the head. Horny records on this panel have evolved into large pineal growths. If necessary, the animal can use it as a battering ram. On the sides of the frontal flap sticking out of the animal's ears. They are movable, elongated, somewhat like a donkey - it determined the name of the beast. Since tatu Burro lives in a warm climate, but most of his body is covered with shell, heat dissipation is a problem in front of him. With this role handle his ears, which is developing a network of blood vessels. In hot weather, the animal's ears turn pink - the blood vessels to dilate, and blood gives excess heat through the thin skin.
The lower part of the animal's body is not protected by armor, her growing long sparse coat. On the neck and the lower part of the head hair is shorter and thicker, making looks like "beard". The jaws of the beast are relatively short, the tip of the muzzle agile and flexible. two-tone beast Colouring: armor plates reddish brown and light gray wool.
tatu Burro is a relatively large animal, like a long-legged pig. His height at the shoulders of about one meter, and the length of the body (without a tail) of about one and a half meters. This animal has inherited from his ancestors, conventional battleships, the ability to run fast. In this regard, his legs considerably modified. it Hind legs are slightly longer than the front, they have become part and front - fully digitigrade. The claws on the hind legs turned into a kind of hoof, and the animal rests on them and on the pads of fingers III and IV. II and V fingers do not reach the ground, only a short claws grow on them. The front legs are developed II, III and IV fingers armed with long claws with sharp side edge. With these claws of an animal can not only run, but also to get food: to dig burrows and termite mounds and destroy well-fortified mud nests ground birds - steppe whistleblowers. If the shell does not save the animal from enemies tattoo Burro can actively defend - the animal gets on its hind legs and inflicts deep wounds attacking predator claws of the front feet.
It is a kind of lack of teeth leads an interesting life - is an omnivorous species, which in the diet food of animal origin occupies a significant place. This animal has a high immunity to poisons, so even those fed animals that evade other predators. It may tread down and eat poisonous snakes and frogs, collects poisonous beetles and eat them without harm to health. Tattoo Burro willingly eats carrion, searching for her with a sharp sense of smell. This beast can be seen among those who patiently waits and leave sated predator prey. But to produce their own meat tatu Burro can not: it is very low intelligence, and this beast does not know how to hunt. He only eats the nimals that can not escape from it themselves or content remains large predators. Also, due to weak teeth tatu Burro can not bite bones like hyenas or other scavengers to specialized and eats only the soft parts of the carcass. But a strong stomach allows him to eat meat even start to decompose, that do not eat other predators. Clearly pronounced breeding season tattoo Burro not. This species does not form a permanent family, animals of different sexes are found only at the time of mating. Gestation lasts about 4 months. The female gives birth to only two large and well-developed calves. For tattoo Burro is a general feature of the battleships - a brood of cubs are identical twins. They soon become independent - month cub leaves mother and already produces meals. The female gives birth to about three brood for two years. While teens this type are small, they do not dare to approach the production of large predators, and are content with small animals, especially invertebrates. They also feed on plant foods - berries and flowers of herbaceous plants. But from about the age of two, reaching the size typical of the adult animal, they pass to feeding on carrion. Lifespan donkey armadillo is about 15 years.