Armadillo : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Well, here is another one of those dumb questions.

My hubby and I were out at the barn feeding our kids when we heard a strange noise just outside the barn. We looked and it was an armadillo routing around in the dirt. This same fellow was seen just last night next to our house, but didn't seem to be doing the dirt thing there. It seems pretty tame and maybe hard of hearing???? It stuck around long enough for us to get a good long look at it near the barn. My question is this ... Is this critter just another of nature's population or will it do damage to my farm/home in any way? We raise goats, but they don't seem to be bothered by it at all. What kind of damage will this guy do, if any?



-- Iris (, December 30, 2001


I think they are pretty near blind; don't know about their hearing. They just eat bugs and sometimes carrion; thus they are considered generally useful.

Besides, they are cuter than a gnat's eyebrow.

-- joj (jump@off.c), December 30, 2001.

We are just starting to get them on the north side of the river. They have been on the south side for years. They will dig up your garden looking for grubs and worms. Really make a mess of all your hard work. Other than that they are known to carry leprosy, yes the curse of the olden times. Never touch a dead one with out gloves that can be desposed of treat as contaminated. True the chances are it doesn't have leprosy but don't take the chance. And you will be getting rid dead ones because in a short time they quit being cute and become a gardeners worst nightmare and you will have to dispose of them. Best of luck David

-- David in North Ala (, December 30, 2001.

Armadillos have been known to wreck pillar supported houses with their digging and their carcuses in drinking water has infected horses with untreatable diseases.

-- mitch hearn (, December 30, 2001.

I had a cousin that lived in Austin,TX, that made her own armadillo stew. She thought it was great! She didn't die of leprosy,( she moved to Florida.) They are starting to show up more and more around here (western OK) close to the OK panhandle. I am more concerned about what diseases they carry than what damage they can do to the land. OK Maybe I'm seeing more of them here because my cousin moved to Florida and she's not making armadillo stew anymore! Good luck with them!

-- cowgirlone (, December 30, 2001.

No one has yet mentioned the holes they dig to live in. Horses and cattle can break a leg in one. Some farmers have even had tractors wheels fall through and injure the driver or damage the tractor. They are dangerous. Two years ago I had to recover my potatos and replant my onions almost daily because the armadillos would root them out of the ground every night. AHhhhhhhhh! Drove me nuts!

They are cute but not around my place thanks. Susan

-- Susan (, December 30, 2001.

Hey Folks,

Thanks for all the info. Now, can anyone tell me what to bait a live trap with to relocate this little bugger???? We thought Gomer (he's been named) was cute, but don't want holes or diseases for the land or the stock or us. I don't really want to kill him, so I'd like to transplant him to a safer place. Any ideas as to where that should be? Oh, I live in central Oklahoma and have seen them on the road for years. Dead. But this is the first time I've had a live one on the farm, that I know of.

Oh, both Hubby and I are vegetarians, but he said he will not hesitate to do what is necessary to keep our farm safe. That's sad to me, but I understand.

Thanks again.


-- Iris (, December 30, 2001.

I used to do wildlife rehab, (birds only), but I did hear that if you wanted to relocate a pesty armadillo, they can't resist ripe bananas....(in a "have-a-heart" trap).

I've never had to try this, so don't know how effective it may be, but worth a thought.

-- Birdlady (, December 30, 2001.

These critters are common in Central Texas. When I was a kid we would catch them and put them in the girls dressing room and other appropriate places. Never heard of anyone getting leprosy. (Deer can carry anthrax). We still have a few pier and beam houses standing, are still able to grow a few flowers and harvest a few vegatables and haven't had to put down all the horses. (Lots of animals dig holes, i.e., six year old boys).

Armadillos aren't going to disrupt your habitat near as much as you have already disrupted theirs. Enjoy the extra bugs and slugs with the armadillos gone.

-- paul (, December 30, 2001.

IMO, the only problem with armadillos is the holes they dig. As someone said earlier, the holes are big and horses can step in them. They are supposed to carry leprosy, but never knew anyone who got it, I have known quite a few people who caught armadillos. They don't really have teeth, so don't bite, but can give you a nasty scratch.

You see so many dead on the road because people try to stradle them with the wheels of their vehicle. Armadillos don't hear or see well. When they are startled, they jump straight up into the air. By the time they are aware of the car, it is over them. They jump up and get hit by the underside of the car.

Why did the chicken cross the road?? To prove to the armadillo that it COULD be done!

-- Mona in OK (, December 30, 2001.


~ 15-17 inches long plus 14-16 inch tail.

   ~ 8-17 pounds

~ breed in July

~ embryo dormant until November

~ always 4 babies all the same sex; identical quads from one egg

~ one placenta

~ only mammal with multiple young from one single egg wih any regularity

~ grub and insect eater - long tongue can swoop up 60-70 insects at once.

~ each animal maintains 4-5 burrows - each 10-15 feet long - one entrance

~ home range is 5-10 acres

~ anchors itself to ground when attacked - can bite severely - can kick hard with both front and hind legs - does NOT roll up into ball

I can personally testify to the damage they do! In just a few minutes, a cave was dug on my property. Unbelieveable depth/length! The critter was 3 feet long from head to tip of tail. With all the dogs barking and the humans making a lot of noise, she left. Seemed to take forever to refill the hole so the bovine/equine/swine wouldn't break a leg falling in in the dark.

-- ~Rogo (, December 31, 2001.

they do not hibernate so must have somewhat warm weather to survive. You'll not see them out in the daytime in warm seasons but will during the cold. I've seen them on a sunny afternoon digging into small melted areas after an ice storm. they, along with roadruners are rapidly moving North, it seems.

they'll soon get the idea that woods are the place for their entrance/exit holes if you fill in the ones you find in the fields,or anywhere that they are a danger or bother.

dogs in the places where they are accustomed to them will flip em over for the kill. most dogs love to chase and/or dig em out to kill and eat.

-- carol (, December 31, 2001.

My daughter calls them biological speed bumps.

-- Susan from almost Northern MI (, December 31, 2001.

They don't "carry" leprosy but they are about the only animal that can be kept in a lab that can be infected with it and hence were used for medical research. Poor people ate em during th Depression. They were called "Hoover hogs". My scouts usually haul one or two out of their burrows every backpacking trip. You have to grab 'em by the tail as they diving in- once in they dig their claws into the tunnel sides so they can't be pulled straight out. Take a GOOD grip on the tail, punch em forward into the tunnel and yank em back out in one quick motion! If you are camping and hear a rhinocerous wandering around in the woods in the soutern uS at night-it's probably an armidillo! Please don't throw gum out your car window. Ants run out on the road to get the gum-a whole long line-along comes the armidillo just lappin up the ants, doesn't think to check for traffic...BAM! Anyone remember a John Livingstone song called "The Graveyard of the Armidillo?" (Down in the place where the grass does not grow-is the graveyaaard of the armidillooo!)

-- Mitzi Giles (, December 31, 2001.

I think of Armadillos as possems with more shelter than brains! D.H. who attended U of Texas just loves 'em! Glad they don't occur here, but I sure saw lots of them when I lived in Duncan, OK. The neighbor next door swore that moth balls tossed into old margerine containers with lids on (and a few holes in em) strewn about the garden kept the armidillos away. Personally I think it was my dogs nearly obscene interest in the "almost opossums" :-) I'd only worry about why the armidillo was interested in your property. Possible bug infestation? If they like ants, maybe they could help out with the fire ants in TX? If they are as dumb as possems, it's unlikely they'd notice the sting anymore than the Texans I met noticed the Tequila shots. (No offense intended to non-tequila drinkers in TX)

-- Marty in KS (, January 01, 2002.

Don't know anything but do have another question.. Monday morning this week, I was waiting for a rider to come out and thought that I saw an armadillo wandering the neighborhood, this is in SOUTHERN INDIANA, is this possible? We are just along side the Ohio river.

-- Wayne & (LYN) Roach (, January 01, 2002.

According to a guide at a FL park, these 'possums on the half-shell' cannot swim. For crossing narrow streams they blow out the air in their lungs and walk on the bottom. For wide ones they inflate their lungs and float across. They can easily cross bridges over rivers.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, January 05, 2002.

Armadillos can be real pests, not only in the garden, but when they dig under your foundation, which they keep doing at my place. Right under the slab, which breaks my termite barrier.

They can be trapped without bait. I've had professionals do it twice at great cost. They never use bait, just set the trap right alongside the house, since armadillos can't see well, and use the side of the house as a travel guide. Sometimes they put up some chicken wire to make sure the only way the dillo can get back to his hole it by going through the trap.

Heck, now we've got them again. This time I'm getting my own trap, chicken wire, etc. I'll relocate them myself. It's got to be cheaper.


-- Sue Brown (, March 16, 2002.

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