You go out to enter your car and see all of your carefully planted bulbs knocked out of the ground or missing. Half dollar sized holes are through your carefully prepared and planted flower beds. You lawn looks like an army of bad golfers came through during the night, leaving dozens of divots all over the place. What could do this much harm?
This is how most people find they have an armadillo living close to them. Armadillos are such tank like animals you see by the side of the street as soon as they have lost an argument with a motor vehicle. As their range has increased and they’ve moved further north, more and more people are having disagreements with armadillos.
Armadillos have evolved to be digging machines. They have large front claws and dig burrows in addition to dig for food. The armadillo has poor eyesight but can smell an insect a long way off. Armadillos produce one litter a year consisting of four infants of the same sex. They are born in a nest at the burrow.
Armadillos are rarely seen because they are mostly active at night throughout the summer, although they may work during the day in the winter. They spend most of their time searching insects. In fact, 90% of the diet is insects, with the rest being fruit, berries, and tender roots.
The problem come in once the armadillo smells an insect in your backyard. She doesn’t want to have the plant, but digs it up so she can get to the insect. So while on one hand she is beneficial and eats insects, on the other, she’s destructive.
The best method of dealing with these problems is a fence. I planted quite a few bulbs on day. When I came out the next morning to water them, they were awakened or were missing. I recognized that the holes as armadillo holes and place four foot welded wire fencing around the replanted bulbs. The morning after, I could see holes all around the backyard, but none within the fence. Problem solved.
If fencing isn’t practical, though, you have two options. You may shoot the armadillo, if you’re someplace that’s allowed and you can catch it, or you can trap it. I’d go with trapping it, myself.
Get one with at least 10 X 12 X 32 inches of space. You can bait it with overripe fruit. Place the trap on paths or near the burrow. Armadillos can be tricky to trap because they do not follow a set pattern.
When you trap the armadillo, don’t touch it. Armadillos carry leprosy and it is illegal, at least in Texas, to keep a live armadillo for that reason. It is also illegal to release an armadillo on somebody else’s property without permission. That leaves deadly disposal. Most pest control companies will come out for a fee and collect the armadillo so that you do not have to do this yourself.
Armadillos have been in existence since the age of the dinosaurs.