Armadillo is a little mammal famous for its unusual, armored back. It can vary in size from 5 to 59 inches (13 – 150 cm) and from 3 ounces (85 g) to 120 pounds (55 kg) in weight, depending on species and living conditions. These animals are omnivorous, so it is interesting to discover what do Armadillos eat.
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What Do Armadillos Like to Eat
Armadillos like warm and wet tropical and subtropical environments, so you can see them in Southern areas across the US. Some types prefer living in forests and higher grasslands. Since these animals can hold their breath for over six minutes, they can easily cross the river or even walk on the clear stream bottom.
These ‘armors’ are not territorial, so they won’t have any problem leaving the current site for a better one. They like to burrow underground caves, and you can notice several around their hunting site. Those caves and holes make the perfect location for a necessary 16 hours long daily nap.
Armadillos belong to the group of omnivorous animals, meaning they can eat almost everything. Even though they prefer eating insects, they will never miss an opportunity to nibble some fruits, as well. You can also notice Armadillos consuming eggs and smaller animals occasionally, but it is not a very common scenario.
These animals use their front claws to dig underground while looking for yummy bugs. As a result, their environment is full of holes. In most cases, they become other small animals’ places of living when Armadillos leave that particular spot.
As I have already mentioned, Armadillos adore insects, and 90% of their regular diet consists of bugs, including spiders and scorpions.
Some records show that Armadillos nibble fruit and other vegetation, but it is not their primary diet. They can also eat vertebrates, but it seems that they don’t prefer such a meal. The list of food that Armadillos like is very long and usually includes:
Worms and small animals
- Some vertebrates
- Small mammals
- Bird eggs
- Plant matter
Harm of Armadillos
Armadillos front digging claws can cause lots of damage in your backyard. They use them to dig while looking for food or make underground shelters.
Keep in mind that these animals can create numerous holes throughout your backyard. Sometimes, they can be up to 8 inches (20.5 cm) wide and 15 feet (4.5 m) deep.
Armadillos usually prefer loose soil rich in insects. That type of backyard you can find across Florida, making an excellent area for these creatures.
Be prepared that they will become comfortable in your backyard quickly if you can’t find a way to get rid of these pests. As soon as they get comfortable, they will dig under your house, which can be a significant risk.
For instance, they can damage the concrete, cause cracks, and weaken the house structure. Plus, they will probably try to dig in your underground water pipes.
Besides your home, Armadillos will destroy your garden and flower beds since flower leaves hide their favorite insects. You can also expect them to take a bite of fruits from the garden.
Be aware that these animals are not aggressive, but they are still wild animals with a hunting instinct. They rarely attack humans, but your dog or cat can be a potential opponent.
There is one more problem. Armadillos can spread some severe diseases and harm your family. Keep in mind that these animals are the only living creatures that can transmit leprosy to humans.
No one precisely knows the way Armadillos infect humans, but many medical proofs confirm that. Some people believe that humans get infected after consuming Armadillo’s meat. It is actually not very tasty, but people enjoy it in some countries.
Tips to Getting Rid of Armadillos
Armadillos can cause lots of severe damage to the backyard and garden, and homeowners have several reasons to get rid of them. There are no effective insecticides and fumigants that can repel these animals, but you can apply some efficient methods instead.
1. Restrict food supply
If you want to get rid of Armadillos but can’t find an efficient way to do that, the best option is to attack their food supply. Once they can’t find anything to eat, they will probably go away and look for another place to live.
Their primary food is insects found underground. Therefore, you can successfully get rid of Armadillos by destroying their primary food source with insecticides.
Unfortunately, this method can cause a new set of problems because the lack of insects in the ground can damage plants in your garden. Plus, these chemicals often cause severe damage to birds, rabbits, squirrels, and even your pets.
There is another drawback to this method. As soon as Armadillos notice a lack of insects in the ground, they can cause more damage by digging deeper and making more holes. Keep in mind that holes are a real problem for your kids and pets playing in the yard.
Armadillos are usually very unpredictable, and it can be challenging to catch them in a cage. The best option is to place a trap near the fence or house, preferably along the edges, because these animals usually walk along the solid structures.
If you can locate their holes and underground tunnels, you should put a cage in the entrance. Placing two wooden planks that will lead directly in the trap can also be effective.
It is an excellent idea to place bait in the cage to attract Armadillos, but it is often unnecessary. If you decide to use bait, it should be something that will attract insects.
The best choice is overripe fruit. Another thing you can use is worms, but make sure to secure them in something transparent.
Always use cages of a proper size because Armadillos won’t make an effort to fit in them. Cage with dimensions 10 by 12 by 36 inches (25 x 30 x 91 cm) available in any hardware store will do the job.
Once you catch your intruder, you should release it somewhere far away from your home, preferably near water and food supply. That is the only way to prevent it from coming back. Luckily, these animals are not territorial and can quickly adapt to new places.
3. In-ground fences
Fences that go underground are very effective, but there is a slight problem with them. If you miss to place it deep enough, Armadillos can dig under its edge.
The best depth for underground fences is 18 inches (45 cm), and you should place it at an angle of 40 degrees. Be aware that this solution can be pretty expensive.
4. Electrical fences
Electrical fences are an efficient option, but there is a terrible problem that follows it. Electrical fences will keep Armadillos away from your backyard, but you shouldn’t put them around the place where you let your kids play.
Besides, it is crucial to avoid using electrical fences if you keep your pets in the backyard to protect them from hurting.
5. Destroy hidden places
Armadillos like hiding spots, and they create well-secured underground caves for living. Removing bushes, high grass, and big rocks will help you get rid of these pests. The negative side of this method is that you will endanger other wildlife if you remove some plants from your backyard.
6. Shoot it
In some areas, people get rid of Armadillos by shooting at them. It can be an effective method, but you should be sure that you don’t go against any law.
If this solution is allowed, you need to wait for the sunset or nighttime because Armadillos are primarily active in that period. You can use either shotgun or rifle to shoot this animal.
7. Call a professional
The process of getting rid of Armadillos usually lasts too long and requires lots of dedication and perseverance. You can try some of these methods on your own, but the best option is to call a professional to solve the problem if all your attempts fail.
Another option is to skip annoyance and call a pest control expert as soon as this creature appears in your yard.
8. Fill holes
After ensuring that the intruder won’t come back, it is time to fill the holes it made. Always put some loose soil on top of the holes and monitor them daily.
Then, you should add a mixture of earth and pea gravel to make it harder to dig. If you suspect that an Armadillo is left underground, you should call a pest control expert and let it finish the job.
Armadillos belong in the wild, and they live perfectly there, but those animals will become pests once they start living in an urban environment. They will come to your backyard only when their habitat is endangered.
In ideal conditions, people and Armadillos shouldn’t have any interactions. The only way to avoid many inconveniences is to let these animals live peacefully in nature.