Among the 20 species of armadillo, only one of them lives in Latin America. The common nine-banded armadillo is the only species that comprise the United States in its span.
Armadillo is a Spanish word meaning “little armored one” and refers to the bony plates that cover the back, legs, head, and tail of most of these animals. Armadillos are the only living mammals that have such shells.
Almost identical to anteaters and sloths, armadillos commonly have a pointy snout and small eyes. They differ widely in size and color, from the 6-inch-long, salmon-colored pink fairy armadillo to the 5-foot-long, dark-brown adult armadillo. Others have black, gray, red, or yellow coloring.
Contrary to common belief, not all armadillos can cover themselves in their shells. Only the three-banded armadillo can twirl its head and back feet and contort its shell into a tough ball that confounds would-be predators.
Habitat and Diet
Armadillos like to live in the warm temperature. The places they prefer to live includes rain forests, grasslands, and semi-deserts. Due to their low metabolic rate and absence of fat, they can’t tolerate extreme cold or warm climate.
Most species dig burrows and sleep for up to 16 hours per day, foraging in the early morning and evening for ants, beetles, termites, and other insects. They have poor eyesight and use their keen sense of smell to hunt.
Muscular legs and big front claws are used for digging, and long, sticky tongues for removing ants and termites from their tunnels. In addition to bugs, armadillos feed on small vertebrates, plants, and some fruit, as well as the rare carrion meal.
What disease does armadillo carry?
The armadillos in the southern United States transmitting the bacteria that can affect leprosy are now found over a much larger geographic extent than just a few years ago, a new study indicates.
Leprosy: This is usually known by its modern name, Hansen’s disease, is curable with antibiotics, and has a low chance of being spread among people.
Best natural armadillo repellent – Home remedy
1. Cayenne Pepper
- Dried cayenne pepper has been seen to be beneficial in repelling armadillos.
- Sprinkle some pepper into the burrow and onto the land where armadillos have been spotted.
- Then pour some water to make it sink into the soil.
- Cayenne pepper also is known as red hot chili pepper or Guinea spice can be mixed with liquid washing soap to make it last-long or else it could be easily washed away.
- Even so, it can be reapplied from time to time.
- Plant garlic plants around your fence or lawn to repel approaching armadillos. They have a very strong sense of smell and the powerful odor of garlic affects them so they avert your space.
- Ammonia is also useful while dealing with armadillos because of its foul odor.
- It works better when mixed with oil soap and the mixture is brought up to the environment being pursued by the pesky mammal.
- Soak a rag in this mixture and place it in prevailing burrows or sprinkle it around the lawn.
- The downside to ammonia as a repellent here is that it is only favorable for use where edible things are not seeded.
- Care should be taken when using ammonia as inhalation or contact with the skin can result in health issues for humans.
- Ammonia can also be flushed away by rainwater; hence it has to be reused from time to time.
4. Castor oil
- When applied on the ground, castor oil gives the soil a bad odor.
- So when armadillos are dug and the soil fetches into their mouths, they are prevented from digging further and will move away from the place.
- After 20 minutes of applying a castor oil repellent, you should add water on the soil to assure penetration.
- Castor oil, when applied in large amounts also, rids the soil of grubs and worms, but this may be harmful to the plant. Because the quantity is also needed for effectiveness, this repellent may not be much expensive.
5. Predator urine
- Coyote, jaguar, cougars, bobcats, etc. are all-natural predators of the armadillo. Many products composed of the urine of these animals are often advertised as repellent solutions, although it has to be re-applied more than once. The success rate of these products is, however, not so clear.
- Also called naphthalene balls; have an unpleasant odor that can be uneasy for armadillos. Put some in their burrows and they are most likely to relocate shortly. In some cases, the armadillo may make more burrows, which will create more problem.
7. Epsom salt
- Epsom salt is another odorous substance that armadillos dislike. Sprinkle some Epsom salt on plants and gardens to keep the armadillos away. Unlike ammonia, Epsom salt is safe to use as human contact with it is not harmful. It, however, flushes away easily.
- They are the natural enemy of the armadillo; the shelled mammals get scared easily and their usual reaction is to escape. Keep dogs on guard in the yard or garden at night when the armadillos generally come looking for food. They are naturally scared of the dogs which lead them to relocate their home.
How to build an armadillo trap – DIY
Measuring and cutting
- Use a table saw for the following activity.
- Using the table saw, cut four plywood pieces of measurement 12 inches by 36 inches to form the top, bottom, and side pieces.
- For the back wall and front door make two 12 inch sections of 2 by 4 planks for a trap door.
- For the trap, floors slash 12 inches by 30-inch plywood.
The hammering of the structure
- Vertically place two side pieces which are 12 inches apart in a parallel position.
- Take the bottom piece and horizontally place it on the top of the two side pieces.
- After that hammer nail through the bottom piece into the top edges of the side pieces.
- To attach the top piece invert the structure and repeat the steps.
- On one open end of the structure, set the back piece and hammer the nails through this into the edges of the structure.
- Connect the power drill with a five-inch circular drill bit. To observe the inside of the box drill a five-inch hole into the top of the structure.
Placing of the indention
- Using a table saw and a half-inch blade, cut a one-half-inch intention into the center of each trap door.
- With the indention facing inwards, fix the trap doors into the trap.
- Place the indention outside of the structure in the wood.
- Then hammer the nails into the placed door slides through the trap into the trap doors.
Drilling the structure
- Drill completely through the trap door by drilling a one-eighth-inch hole into the back of the left trap door.
- On the back of the trap, floor drill a cavity of one-eighth-inch.
- Fix a one-inch wooden bolt underneath the trap floor towards the back of the trap.
- The bottom of the trap should touch the front of the trap floor and the back of it should touch the air.
Inserting the fish wire
- In the hole insert and tie a fish wire which is approximately 36 inches long and the other end to a one-eight-inch loop screw.
- When the loop screw is placed in the trap door hole it should be tight which can be done by adjusting the length of the fish wire.
- The trap door should be inserted with the loop screw.
- The intention of the trap door should be joined with the front door.
- The front door should be held in place with the help of a loop screw.
How armadillo trap works?
As the armadillo enters the trap, it pressurizes the back of the trap floor which results in pulling out of the loop key and releasing the trap door.
Frequently asked Questions
1. How to trap an armadillo?
When you buy an armadillo trap you should be aware of the process of trapping so that you won’t do it in the wrong way. So below is an easy way to trap the armadillo.
Position the trap
The first is to place the trap in the right place. The right place depends upon the armadillo, if you find any tunnel in your lawn then place it on its exit point or place it near the fencing of your garden or house.
Bait the trap
Armadillo will come to your garden only in the search of food. So to attract the armadillo, put some food in your trap. The most appealing bait for armadillo could be earthworms, maggots, crickets, etc. Put these baits near the entrance of the bait to see effective results.
Handle the cage with proper care
This is the most important step. When you notice that the armadillo has been caught in the trap, throw an old cloth on the trap cage as this will calm down the armadillo and wear gloves for safety purposes. The adult armadillo can spread their odor up to 1 meter far so it’s better to cover the trap with a cloth to stop the smell.
Relocating any caged animal is a must. Make sure you leave the armadillo 10 miles away from your house so that they won’t come back. Open the door of the cage and immediately after that leave the place soon.
2. What are baby armadillos called?
The baby armadillos are called pups. There are four identical pups of the same gender in every nine – banded armadillo, whereas seven banded armadillos have eight to fifteen pups at one time.
3. When is the best time to catch an armadillo?
The best way to catch armadillos is during the early morning or late evening. During this time armadillos are looking for food to feed themselves.
4. How fast can an armadillo run?
Armadillo can run 30 miles per hour.
5. What color is an armadillo?
They have a wide range of colors but mainly armadillos can be of pink, red, black, grey, or yellow color.
6. How to stop armadillo digging?
To prevent armadillo from digging one should start using armadillo repellent and traps, fencing the yard and one can also make their yard inhospitable for armadillos.