What is an Armadillo?
Armadillos are small nocturnal omnivorous mammal that have long sharp claws that they use for digging and a body covered in bony plates known as scutes. Armadillos likely originated in the jungles of South America and are now found as far north and the southern United States.
Are Armadillos Dangerous?
Armadillos are general not dangerous to humans. Because they are wild animals caution should be taken anytime an armadillo is in close vicinity. Armadillos rely on their bony armour for their defense. In addition, when feeling threatened, an armadillo will squeak or squeal. Rather than being confrontational, an armadillo will likely turn-tail and run when facing another animal or a human. Armadillos are not equipped with offensive weapons.
Though not likely to cause direct harm to humans, armadillos may carry the bacterium that causes leprosy. Even so, the risk of contracting leprosy from an armadillo is only present with eating its undercooked meat.
Despite the armadillos generally docile temperament getting rid of armadillos that have invaded on inhabited human property is recommended.
Armadillos can cause significant damage to homes, lawns, trees and gardens as they go about their nocturnal searches for food. Armadillos prefer insects as a food staple and are notorious for digging holes to find they preferred food. Their digging can result in uprooted vegetable plants and even destruction of small trees due to damaged roots. Additionally, an armadillo will eat new plant shoots, ripe fruit and vegetables and there are reports of armadillos eating the eggs of ground nesting birds and chickens.
Armadillos may also cause damage and produce unwanted mess and smell when living under a home’s porch or outbuilding.
How Do You Get Rid of Armadillos?
Armadillos are active throughout the year. Approaches to removing and repelling armadillos does not vary from season to season. Live trapping of armadillos is a popular and effective method of removing them from areas where they are unwanted. To trap an armadillo use a live cage trap at least 30 inches long, 12 inches high, ten inches wide. Generally, the use of bait food in the trap is not recommended as it will attract other unwanted animals. The better strategy is to set the trap, unbaited, on a path known to be used by the invading armadillo.
Because armadillos are generally cowardly and skittish, using a natural repellent such as Shake-Away Large Animal Repellent will also be effective in driving them away and keeping them away. Shake-Away utilizes the scent of the armadillo’s most-feared predator (the coyote) to convince the armadillo that the protected area has been claimed by the predator and is not a safe place to be. Sensing the danger, the armadillo abandons the protected area and moves to new ground.