Armadillo FAQ’s: Info about Armadillos
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In Spanish, the word armadillo translates into "little armored one", which is a pretty accurate description of these common little wildlife creatures. Armadillos are indigenous to Central America, since they generally seek warmer habitats, however the Nine-Banded Armadillo has made its way into the southern United States. Armadillos don't have any true fatty tissue on their bodies to keep themselves warm, which is why they tend to seek out warmer climates. They prefer a looser sand-like dirt to dig for their food sources and to dig their burrows, where they sleep and have their babies. Armadillos are not known for having excellent eyesight, however they do have a very keen sense of smell and will walk around slowly attempting to sniff out bugs to munch on. Since they are sniffing them out, this is how you end up with tiny little holes all throughout your yard. Armadillos are also equipped with sharp claws and strong legs, which helps them when they are digging their burrows.
The burrows that they dig are often abandoned when they move onto a new area, after they are abandoned many different types of animals will use these burrows as their homes. When the armadillo is inhabiting the burrow, however, they can spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping in them! Mostly during the day, as they typically scavenge for their food later in the evening. Armadillos will also sleep the cool winter months away in their burrows. These burrows are easy to identify since they can sometimes be found up to 15 feet wide! Armadillos will eat meats in addition to vegetation and fruits, though they normally are found to eat insects and their larvae. They love to munch on beetles, and ants, and they are closely associated with the anteater family.
You will not often find multiple armadillos traveling together, they are solitary animals and prefer to wander alone. Really, they are only together for mating purposes, and will care for the babies until they are able to make it on their own. These babies will become self-sufficient quickly, around 6 months, and then they will go off on their own. Sadly, one of the most frequent places you'll see armadillos is on the side of the street, as they frequently attempt to cross roads late at night and will end up getting hit. Their tough armor can protect them from most natural dangers, but our cars are not one of them.
Armadillo Removal: How to get Rid of Armadillos
It is not uncommon for Armadillos to appear in residential neighborhoods and are often viewed as a nuisance, mostly due to the multitude of tiny holes that they leave in the wake of their scavenging. If you have a garden where an armadillo can easily access it, you may also notice some of your crops being uprooted. While these may seem more annoying than dangerous, armadillos also have the capability of breaking wires or pipes that are under the ground in your yard as well, mostly when they are digging their burrows. Rather you don’t want your garden torn up, you twisted your ankle in a hole, or they burst a pipe and flooded your yard; these animals are not often welcomed guests.
So, is there any way to prevent armadillos before they cause serious damage to your property? The best prevention method you can use to try to stop armadillos in the first place would be to get a fence installed. Armadillos are not able to climb fences, but they are able to dig beneath them; so while you don’t have to worry about getting a tall fence, you do want to make sure they extend at least a couple inches underground. Armadillos will seek out food so if you want to deter them from your yard you should keep an eye on the insect population in your yard and try to keep it relatively low, so you don’t risk the yummy insects luring in the armadillos. One of the most common areas where this can occur is in your garden, which often has a plethora of worms that they would love to feast on.
Should you find yourself with an armadillo making your backyard their home, your best option is to trap them alive and relocate them. Not only is this method effective, but it is the humane way to handle your problem. While there are lethal traps on the market, many of them will not work on armadillos due to their extremely hard shells. This is why, if you are choosing the lethal method, you should ensure that you are choosing a trap that is specifically designed for armadillos. Many people try to shoot armadillos, however this is not often effective as armadillos can run fairly quickly when they feel as though they are in danger.
Since armadillos are not dangerous or aggressive animals, killing them is often unnecessary. They are not a threat to animals or humans, which is why live trapping would be the most suitable choice.
Armadillo Diseases: Do Armadillos Carry Leprosy?
Many people associate armadillos with leprosy, and yes it is true that they are carriers of the disease. While many panic once they hear the word leprosy they often do not understand the full extent of the disease, so what exactly is Leprosy? It's an infectious disease which causes lesions on the skin in addition to possible nerve damage. Today, leprosy isn't considered highly infectious and can be a curable disorder. Armadillos are capable of carrying Leprosy, and yes they can spread it to humans. Do not panic! This does not mean that in the event you accidentally touch an armadillo you will pop up lesions and lose feeling in your hands. In fact, the transfer from Armadillos to humans is most commonly through ingestion. Yes, ingestion, as in eating them. It's not unusual in rural southern areas for individuals to eat roadkill, and that roadkill can often be armadillos.
Aside from Leprosy, armadillos are not known for carrying many other diseases. More than likely, this is due in part to their low body temperature, which makes it difficult for many virus' to survive in their system. While uncommon, it's not totally impossible. You might, on very rare occasions, encounter an armadillo with rabies. An armadillo with rabies may not necessarily be aggressive, but they'll be not as shy as an armadillo usually is. They'll also be more commonly spotted during the day. Armadillos also have the capability to carry tapeworms, which are shed through their feces, these worms attack the intestines of the host. In humans, you can notice severe weight loss and intestinal issues. The only way to contract tapeworms from armadillos is by coming in contact with their feces, which may be common if you are investigating their burrow.
While armadillos may not carry very many disease, the ones they carry are often detrimental to your health and should be taken seriously. It's very important to wear gloves and other protective gear should you come in contact with an armadillo or their feces. Also, in case you were thinking about it, please don’t eat armadillos.
How to Trap Armadillos: Tools, Bait, and Cages
If you have decided to move forward with trapping your armadillo, you should make sure you have the proper tools and information. You’ll want to purchase large trap cages to capture an armadillo, otherwise the cage may be too small to hold the animal and you won’t be able to trap him. Keep in mind that armadillos are nocturnal creatures, so you are more likely to trap one during the early morning hours or even overnight. You should check your traps frequently, at least twice a day, which not only will prevent an armadillo from dying in the cage, but this can also prevent the armadillo from escaping. Armadillos are strong animals and often can bust out from their cages if they are left in the cage for too long. The best location for setting your trap is often near their burrows so that they walk right into it when they are leaving the burrow to seek food.
Unlike trapping for other wildlife, you do not use a bait for an armadillo. Their favorite foods are bugs that live underground, so there’s nothing you can use to lure an armadillo that isn’t already lurking under the ground in your yard. So how do you convince the armadillo to just wander into an empty trap? Your best option is to create a funnel for them with a makeshift wire fence. They’ll follow along the barrier of the funnel, and walk straight into the trap.
This trapping process is not a one day process, it can at times take up to a couple weeks to catch your unwelcome guest. Don’t get discouraged if you are unable to catch the armadillo in your first couple days. Try not to move your cage around a lot, since this may significantly decrease your odds of catching anything. You might also wind up accidentally trapping other wildlife in the region, which could get frustrating.
After you've captured the armadillo, you can relocate it to an area with loose soil where it can thrive. Additionally, you can fill in the burrow they were using to discourage other wildlife animals from moving onto your property as well and using the burrow as their own.