Unknown SLOTH-like animal of South America.
Etymology: From the Tehuelche su ("cloak") + carrath ("skin"). Variant name: Su. Physical description: Long tail. Behavior: Carries its young on its back and shields them with its tail. Hunted by Indians, who made cloaks of its skin. Habitat: Riverbanks. Distribution: Southern Argentina; Chile. Present status: Probably extinct since the late Middle Ages.
Possible explanation: Could represent a surviving Patagonian cave-dwelling sloth (Mylodon darwinii), subfossil remains of which are known from the Cueva del Milodon in southern Chile. Its thick skin may have been prized by the Indians as armor.
Sources: André Thevet, Les singularitez de la France antarctique, autrement nommeé Amérique (Paris: Maurice de la Porte, 1557); Pedro Lozano, Historia de la conquista del Paraguay, Rio de la Plata y Tucumân (1740— 1746) (Buenos Aires: Casa Editora "Imprenta Popular," 1873-1875), pp. 285-286.
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