Picture of the Month


October 2011



Giant Armadillo Emerges from Burrow

(Priodontes maximus)

Pantanal, Brazil


I spent the past few weeks in the Pantanal, the vast, seasonally-flooded basin in southwestern Brazil.  It is an extraordinary place, where enormous cattle ranches provide a refuge for some of the finest gatherings of wildlife in the hemisphere: a successful, sustainable conservation success story.

Many photographers have been flocking to the Pantanal for the last couple years since the discovery of a predictable location for seeing and photographing wild jaguars. So many have started going, in fact, that what was a paucity of wild jaguar photos just a few years ago has turned into a glut. Jaguar tourism is booming, and if this results in more habitat protection, I'm all for it.  But I didn't go after big cats on this trip, I went after Giants.

In the Pleistocene, the plains of South America were dominated by Xenarthran mammals, including giant ground sloths and enormous armadillo-like creatures such as Glyptodonts. Those gigantic forms are extinct now, but there are still some of their remarkable descendants, such as this Giant Armadillo.

The Giant Armadillo is one of the least-studied and most rarely seen of South American mammals, being strictly nocturnal and spending as much as 2/3 of its life in underground burrows. To capture this emerging animal, the first I had ever seen, I set a camera trap at the entrance to an occupied burrow and waited for him to come out.  This was the first shot I got in a week of camera-trapping, and it is still my favorite - an intimate view of a rare and fascinating animal, showing no fear or anxiety, heading out for a night of foraging.

I have begun working on a long-term photo-project with these animals, in conjunction with Dr. Arnaud Desbiez and the Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project.


Nikon D300, 18-200mm lens, Camera Trap



Life, Color, Drama, Reality .... No Digital Manipulation


Kevin Schafer Photography : HOME



Review a previous Picture of the Month:

Anhinga, 9/2001

Lava Tube, 8/2011

Blurry Cassowary, 7/2011

Mud Maid, 5/2011

Roadkill. 4/2011

Light and Shadow, 3/2001

Aurora, 40 below, 2/2011

Petra, 1/2011

Cassowary Family, 12/2010

Antarctic Storm, 11/2010

Yellow-eyed Penguin, 10/2010

Harebells in Wind, 9/2010

Coy Polar Bear, 8/2010

Bathing Beauty Bear, 7/2010

Maned Sloth, 6/2010

Sarus Cranes, 5/2010

Black-winged Stilts, 4/2010

Macaque/Gibbons, 3/2010

Cormorants, 2/2010

Silky Sifaka, 12/2009

Amazon Dolphin Polo, 11/2009

Yucatan Bats, 10/2009

Gulls and Flies, 8/2009

Callanish Stones, 7/2009

Amazon Dolphins (2), 6/2009

Golden Langur, 5/2009

Island Foxes, 4/2009

Puget Sound, 3/2009

Border Fence, 2/2009

Amazon Islands, 1/2009

King Penguins, 12/2008

Darwin's Fox, 11/2008

Blacktip Shark, 10/2008

Greenland Fisherman. 9/2008

Ladyslipper Orchids, 7/2008

Wild Cassowary, 6/2008

Painted Hands, 5/2008

Zion Park, 4/2008

Marine Otters, 3/2008

Mt. Hood Sunset, 2/2008

Mountain-Biking, 1/2008

Tent Bats, 12/2007

Nunbird, 11/2007

Alaskan Otters, 10/2007

Amazon Dolphin, 8/2007

Madagascar #2, 6/2007

Baja California, 5/2007

Pelicans, 3/2007

Darien Gap, 2/2007

Grey Whale Calf, 1/2007

Galapagos Sea Lion, 12/2006

Rockhoppers, 11/2006

Hummingbird, 10/2006

Madagascar, 9/2006

Whales, 7/2006

Sea Lions, 5/2006

Tiger, 4/2006

Jaguar, 2/2006

South Georgia, 12/2005

New Generation, 11/2005

Childhood, 9/2005

Penguins, 8/2005

Sea Palms, 7/2005

Aster Flower, 6/2005

Siskiyou Mountains, 5/2005

Humpback Whales, 4/2005

Christo GATES , 3/2005

Eucalyptus Leaves, 2/2005

Alaskan Aurora, 1/2005

Nesting Turtle, 12/2004

Autumn Berries, 10/2004

Costa Rica, 3/2004

Aurora Borealis, 10/2003

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