Living in grasslands and open pampas,can be found in Chile, South Argentina, and Patagonia, south to the Strait of Magellan (Macdonald, 1984; Nowak, 1999).
The pichi is found in the grasslands and arid regions of southern South America. It usually resides in areas with sandy soils. It burrows underground but is found above ground both during night and day (Macdonald, 1984; Nowak, 1999).
- Terrestrial Biomes
- savanna or grassland
The head and body length of -- is between 260-335mm while the tail length is about 100-140mm. The pichi has very small ears, well developed claws, and dark brown armor. The armor usually has white to yellow edges with hairs sticking up between them; hairs range from mostly black bristles to longer yellow and white hairs. The tail is usually yellow (Nowak, 1999).
- Range mass
- 1 to 2 kg
- 2.20 to 4.41 lb
- Average basal metabolic rate
- 2.192 W
Little is known about the reproduction of --. It is speculated that it breeds all year with a gestation period of about 60 days. The pichi has litters of 1-3 babies weighing about 95-115g which are weaned at about 6 weeks. Life expectancy is guessed to be at about 9 years (Nowak, 1999).
- Key Reproductive Features
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Average lifespan
- 9.0 years
- Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
- Average lifespan
The pichi is usually nocturnal, but does exhibit some activity by day. They are a solitary species and have been known to enter torpor in the winter.digs shallow holes for shelter and to avoid predators. Their defensive behavior is to pull legs and arms under their armor so that the edges are in contact with the ground. Once this is done, the predator cannot get to the softer underbelly, and the rest of the body is protected by its armor. The pichi usually maintains a variable body temperature of about 24.0-35.2 degrees Celsius (Nowak, 1999; Macdonald, 1984).
Communication and Perception
The pichi's diet usually consists of insects, worms, some plant matter (like tubers), carrion, and other animal matter. It has also been known to eat some rodents and lizards (Parker, 1990; Nowak, 1999; Macdonald, 1984).
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Some people have used -- as pets and it has been known to be used as a tasty food source (Macdonald, 1984; Nowak, 1999).
The pichi is still abundant in its natural environment and is widely distributed. It has no special conservation status yet (Parker (ed.), 1990).
Christina Schreffler (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
- tropical savanna and grassland
A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.
A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.
- temperate grassland
A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.
Macdonald, D. 1984. Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford: Equinox.
Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Parker, S. 1990. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: McGraw-Hill.