You go out to enter your car and see all your carefully planted bulbs pumped from the ground or missing. Half dollar sized holes are through your carefully prepared and planted flower beds. You yard 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 damage?
This is the way most people find they have an armadillo living near them. Armadillos are those tank like animals you see by the side of the road as soon as they have lost an argument with a vehicle. As their scope 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 as well as dig for food. They’re 8-17 pounds, about the size of an opossum. Armadillos produce one litter a year consisting of four infants of the same sex. They’re born in a nest at the burrow.
Armadillos are seldom seen because they are primarily active at night during the summer, even though they may work throughout the day in the winter. They spend the majority of their time searching insects. In fact, 90% of their diet is insects, with the rest being fruit, berries, and tender roots.
The problem come in once the armadillo smells an insect in your garden. She doesn’t want the plant, but digs it up so that she can get to the insect beside it. So while on one hand she is beneficial and eats insects, on the other, she’s destructive.
The best way of dealing with these issues is a fence. I planted quite a few bulbs on day. When I came out the next morning to water them, they had been dug up or were missing. I realized that the holes as armadillo holes and put four foot welded wire fencing around the replanted bulbs. The morning after, I could see holes all over the garden, but none inside the fence. Problem solved.
If fencing is not practical, however, you’ve got two options. You can shoot at the armadillo, if you’re someplace that is allowed and you can catch it, or you can trap it. I would go with trapping it, myself.
You can bait it with overripe fruit. Place the trap on paths or near the burrow. Armadillos can be difficult to trap because they don’t follow a set pattern.
When you trap the armadillo, do not touch it. Armadillos carry leprosy and it’s illegal, at least in Texas, to maintain a live armadillo because of this. Additionally it is illegal to release an armadillo on somebody else’s property without written permission. That leaves deadly disposal.
Armadillos have been in existence since the age of the dinosaurs. Bear in mind, they were here first.