Armadillo

Owner & Founder, Reginald Murray, shown here with a captured 9 banded armadillo.

Of approximately 20 extant species of Armadillo … in North America … the Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) is the sole resident which will be encountered. The armadillo ranges from south Texas to the southeastern tip of New Mexico, through Oklahoma, the southeastern corner of Kansas and the southwestern corner of Missouri, most of Arkansas, and southwestern Mississippi. The range also includes southern Alabama, Georgia, and most of Florida, and is found to be growing every year.

Food Habits & Damages

Armadillo’s are prolific diggers, with poor vision, an incredible sense of smell. More than 90% of the armadillo’s diet is made up of insects and their larvae. Armadillos also feed on earthworms, scorpions, spiders, and other invertebrates. There is evidence that the species will eat some fruit and vegetable matter such as berries and tender roots in leaf mold, as well as maggots and pupae in carrion. Vertebrates are eaten to a lesser extent, including skinks, lizards, small frogs, and snakes, as well as the eggs of these animals.

Most armadillo damage occurs as a result of their rooting in lawns, golf courses, vegetable gardens, and flower beds. Characteristic signs of armadillo activity are shallow holes, 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm) deep and 3 to 5 inches (7.6 to 12.7 cm) wide, which are dug in search of food. They also uproot flowers and other ornamental plants. Some damage has been caused by their burrowing under foundations, driveways, and other structures. Some people complain that armadillos keep them awake at night by rubbing their shells against their houses or other structures. There is evidence that armadillos may be responsible for the loss of domestic poultry eggs. This loss can be prevented through proper housing or fencing of nesting birds. Disease is a factor associated with this species. Armadillos can be infected by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae, the causative agent of leprosy. The role that armadillos have in human infection, however, has not yet been determined. They may pose a potential risk for humans, particularly in the Gulf Coast region.

Legal Status

Armadillos are unprotected in most states.

Associated Disease:

The armadillo is a small wild mammal found in the warmer parts of the Americas. A significant prevalence of leprosy (or Hansen’s Disease) in wild armadillos establishes this animal as a reservoir of M. leprae, and exposure to nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) has been implicated as a potential source of leprosy in humans in the south-eastern USA where the animal is quite common. This species of armadillo is around 75 cm long, and are identified by the Nine bands on the body armor of the animal, not to include the twelve segments of the tail, and is sometimes eaten in poorer communities.



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