The armadillo looks incredibly clumsy carrying around that protective shield of armor. The truth is they are quite the athletic animal. They are creative runners, swimmers, and diggers. When underwater they can hold their breath approximately six minutes and with their pig-like snout and long tongue they can dig their food from the ground. The armadillo cannot see well but does have a very good sense of smell. They are about the size of an opossum and weigh about 17 pounds. What most people wonder when they see this clumsy animal enter their area is, “Do armadillos bite?” Is there a concern or risk for having them on or around your property?
Do armadillos bite?
The armadillo will not bite people. Their mouths are very small with peg-like teeth. The worry about their possible bites may come from the fact that they carry the human form of leprosy. You will see them move about quite quickly in what resembles a hopping fashion, but they have not been known to chase people in pursuit of biting them.
The armadillo is a simple animal and among the least intelligent. They do not provide a lot of benefits for the environment but also do not inflict any harm in the wild. The problem with the armadillo is when they enter our properties and begin their continuous digging for food.
What habitat does the armadillo look for?
Armadillos prefer shady, dense cover of brush, woodlands or forests with easy access to water. The mostly dig for their food so prefer areas where the soil is sandy or loose. They will burrow into rock and brush piles and old tree stumps. When they enter your property they will look for places that resemble their native habitat. They will choose to burrow under your shed, house, porch or deck and will also look for your woodpile or crawl space under your house. They have sharp, strong claws and legs and will use any hole in your foundation to get under your house.
How living with an armadillo can affect you
Signs you may be sharing your property with an armadillo will be digging sites in your garden or flower beds and even random patches of your lawn. They will cause a lot of damage with their digging and it is often unrepairable.
If they have moved in under your house, their damage could cost you a lot of money. They are also a noisy animal which will certainly annoy you. With their armor-like shell, they will rub up against your house which will be loud enough to wake you and when they eat they produce a grunting sound much like the pig. If the armadillo feels threatened it will scream or squeal which is exceptionally loud.
Another problem that exists with armadillos living under your home is the stench that will occur should it die under there. When they dig to get under your home they often fall into an area under your foundation. Since they are not climbers, they will end up dying in this space. The smell will enter your home and cause headaches and nausea to your entire family. Even when alive the armadillo emits an odor that can seep into your home. These are not animals you want to share your living space with, in fact, some areas require by law that you remove any armadillo infestation prior to selling your home.
The armadillo is also associated with several diseases:
The link between the armadillo and leprosy has not been heavily tested, but it is a risk associated with them. Louisiana did a study on their population and found 53% had leprosy. The armadillo is the only animal that transmits leprosy and it is done by attacking with its claws.
The armadillo can also carry rabies. This is a virus that can kill any mammal including humans. Since the armadillo is not known to bite it is not as likely to transmit this disease as a raccoon or skunk would.
These are parasites infecting the digestive system and can be transmitted to humans.
The armadillo can also transmit salmonella which is a serious health risk to humans.
How to remove the armadillo from your property
With all the disturbing problems armadillos present when living on your property; it is best not to take matters into your own hands to remove them. You could put yourself and your family at risk of damage, distress, and disease. When you come into contact with their fecal matter or their claws you could contract a serious disease.
Removal of armadillos should be left to professionals because it is very difficult for an amateur to safely get rid of them. However, if you decide that you really want to try your hand at armadillo relocation by yourself, I would recommend using a trap like this one…
Try placing Armadillo bait in the trap without setting it for about a week. This will get the Armadillo accustomed to eating from inside the trap and make them less skittish. After about a week of keeping the Armadillo well fed, you will want to put on some gloves to mask your scent and place food in the trap and set it. What should happen if you are lucky, is that the Armadillo will go about its routine in walking into the trap to find food. The Armadillo being used to getting food inside your trap with no ill consequences, this time should set off the trap if you kept your scent from interfering, and then you will have caught an Armadillo which you can safely relocate far away from your house. Please share any more tips you have for Armadillo removal or prevention in the comment section below and Best of Luck to you!
Additional Armadillo Bite Resources:
- Techniques to Prevent and Control Armadillo Damage – University of Missouri
- How to Keep Armadillos Away – Never Pest
- Baiting the Nine-banded Armadillo – University of Florida
- Armadillos Dasypus novemcinctus – Alabama Wildlife Management
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