Screaming Hairy Armadillos Really Do Scream

This adorable armadillo gets its name from its tendency to scream when cornered. . Robert Eastman/Shutterstock

Armadillos aren't generally thought of as loud animals, but the screaming hairy armadillo has earned its moniker. The smallest of the armadillo species, Chaetophractus vellerosus acquired its common name by being extra hairy and extra vocal.

When handled or feeling threatened, the screaming hairy armadillo raises the alarm. Everyone knows when one of these little guys is cornered. Here's what they sound like:

Screaming bloody murder isn't the only fascinating trait of this species. Native to the Pampas of South America, the species has adapted to life in sandy areas. They're expert diggers that burrow to escape the heat of the day and uncover insects.

Screaming hairy armadillos have their own oddball way of burrowing for bugs. "[I]nstead of using their legs and claws to expose grubs and insects, screaming hairy armadillos will force their heads into the ground, then turn in a circle to create a cone-shaped hole," notes the Smithsonian National Zoo.

Fetching bugs from the sand means eating quite a bit of it as part of a meal. Individuals have been recorded with sand making up as much as 50 percent of their stomach content.

You'd think that to cope with digesting so much sand, they would need to drink plenty of water. But they get much of what they need from the plants they eat and thus can go long periods without drinking any water at all.

In mid-August, the Smithsonian National Zoo announced the birth of two baby screaming hairy armadillos, the first ever born at the facility. The newborns fit in the palm of a hand and are stealing the hearts of anyone who sees them. Though as they grow up, their noisy nature might make them a little less fun to hold!