Armadillos are relatively recent immigrants to the American south and southeast. Their population has spread rapidly in the few decades they’ve been in the United States, and they have already taken over nearly all of the non-desert areas of the southern half of the country. Most commonly seen as road kill, armadillos are also pests that can destroy extensive amounts of outdoor space with the digging and burrowing they do to search for food.
The most common variety found in the United States is the nine-banded armadillo. They generally weigh between 12 and 22 pounds. They are protected by a hard outer armor that looks a bit like a shell. They have long claws that are optimized for digging, which they extensively do in their search for insects, their main source of food. ‘Dillos have powerful noses that can smell an insect through 8 inches of soil, and they’re not shy about chasing after a meal. They are mostly nocturnal animals who live in burrows when they are not out digging up insects.
In Your Yard, Digging Up Everything
In the wild, armadillos are usually not a problem for people. They’re solitary animals who really don’t seek out contact with humans when they can avoid it. When they make their way into your garden or lawn, however, they become a huge issue! A hungry ‘dillo can rip up your landscaping and destroy all of your hard work. They will also create burrows to hide out in, leaving gaping holes in your yard. They can also find their way under your foundation and camp out there, leaving you befuddled as to how to get them out safely and keep other critters from working their way into that space as well.
Not as Dangerous as They Look
Despite the big and scary claws, armadillos really are not dangerous because they want nothing to do with you. Of course, if you go out of your way to handle one, you can easily get swiped by their powerful claws and end up in a world of hurt. Just remember that armadillos are wild animals, and they will do whatever they feel is necessary to keep themselves safe if they feel threatened. Usually, this means running away, but if you force a physical confrontation, they will do what they can to escape, including ripping you up or biting you.
Armadillos are one of the few animals outside of humans that can carry leprosy. There is not a high risk of people catching leprosy from one of these animals, because contact is limited, but the risk does exist, so be careful. Most transmissions of leprosy to humans have come from people eating undercooked meat from the animal, so be sure to avoid eating any ‘dillo sushi should the occasion arise.
Remove Your Problem
It can be difficult for an amateur to keep their yards safe from these insect hunters. Fences are easy for them to burrow underneath, and scent deterrents either wash away or take excessive effort to properly implement. Your best bet for removing and excluding armadillos from your yard or home is to call a professional pest control team. These wildlife extraction experts will be able to safely remove and relocate your pesky armored intruder. Once your pesky visitor is gone, your pest control experts can make recommendations on how to successfully keep any future intruders out of your yard and away from your house.