Armadillo Appearance & Biology
The only species of armadillo that reside in North America is the nine-banded armadillo, named for the nine narrow, jointed armor bands that run along its midsection. They also have scaly plates called scutes that cover their head, body, and tail; this natural armor helps keep them safe when threatened by predators.
The average nine-banded armadillo is usually 15-17 inches long, roughly the size of a large house cat, with gray-brown coloration. Their heads are small and pointed, with a long snout and large pointed ears. They have large front feet and thick sharp claws.
While armadillos are intriguing to some, not everyone is a fan of them, especially homeowners, gardeners, and farmers. Those claws they have? They come in handy for digging and burrowing—all throughout your yard. Armadillos have minimal fat storage and a low metabolic rate meaning that cold weather is their enemy. They live in warmer habitats and they prefer to sleep in burrows in the ground to help maintain their warmth. They are extremely motivated to find shelter and food (grubs and insects) and will destroy your lawn and gardens in the process. They can even destabilize tree root systems and building foundations with their tunnels. It does not take very large for them to dig up a large amount of land. On top of their destructive tendencies, armadillos have been known to be carriers of mycobacterium leprae, which causes leprosy. They can also carry tapeworms and salmonella in their feces.
How can you prevent armadillos from invading your property? Unfortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of options—especially ones that aren’t costly. The best option is to build a sturdy fence to keep them out. But just building a fence above the surface won’t do. You will need to extend the fencing at least a foot into the ground. This will help prevent them from burrowing under it. Another prevention technique that has been rumored to work is to make areas where armadillos might dig smell bad, as they have super sensitive noses. Anything with a strong, rancid odor such as mothballs or a rag soaked in vinegar could steer them away. This same advice goes for if you already have an armadillo problem. The strong smell might drive them out of their burrows—although in some cases the armadillos just throw the mothballs and rags right back out! You could also try an ultrasonic pest deterrent device, however, it may be more effective and useful to contact a local pest control company, such as Nozzle Nolen, for help.
Red Beard Wildlife professionals will know just how to help you with your armadillo issues. Our professionals have been properly trained and our goal is to remove problematic wildlife in a safe yet effective manner. Our process includes trapping the animal humanely, finding ways to exclude future animals, and repairing any damage that the animal has left behind.