Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)

Size: 


28-48 inches long with 9-15 inch tail. 6-18 pounds 


Signs of their presence: 


The animal itself 


Holes in the lawn, around 3-5 inches wide and 1-3 inches deep 


Uprooted plants and seedlings 


Small burrow entrances near a structure. Around 7-10 inches in diameter 


In some cases, cracks sidewalks, driveways, or foundation due to their burrowing 


Scat: Pellets around an inch long with bits of food visible 


Sounds: They will let out a shriek or squeal when in distress. They will emit a cricket-like chirp 


Diet: 


Insectivores. They mainly eat insects and other invertebrates; however, they are known to eat small reptiles, amphibians, and plant matter as well. They consume beetles, termites, ants, maggots, snails, grasshoppers, worms, and larvae. 


Typical activity patterns: 


Social style: Solitary excluding breeding season and taking care of the young.  


Daily activity: Mainly nocturnal. However, during colder months they will come out during the day to warm their body.  


Hibernates: No  


Migrates: No  


Where found: 


Armadillos are mainly found in the western region of the state. However, the population seems to be spreading into the eastern part of the state.  


Habitat: 


Prefers forests with mature trees including pine, oak, and hickory.  


Territory and Home Range:  


May vary. During breeding season armadillos defend their home range in order to better their chances of breeding a female.  


Breeding habits: 


Pair bonding style: Polygamous. Males are thought to have more than one breeding partner 


Breeding Dates: July-August. Gestation takes about four months. Implantation is delayed three to four months, so the young are not born at a bad time. 


Litter Size: Four young are born from one fertilized egg. 


Birthing Date: Around March 


Weaning Date: Around 3 months 


Amount of time young remain after weaning date: three to nine months. After they are weaned they will forage with the mother and leave in six months to a year.  


Common nuisance situations: 


Time of year: Any time of the year 


What are they doing? 


Their presence might frighten people due to disease risks 


Digging up lawns in search of food 


Damaging underground pipes 


Damaging foundations, sidewalks, or driveways with their burrows 


Ripping up young plants in search of food 


Disease Risks: leprosy 


Legal status in Tennessee: 


Unprotected. Armadillos may be hunted year-round 


Best practices 


Fence off Vulnerable Areas: 


Erect a wire fence around the foundation of your house. Bury the fence 2 feet deep and have it near 2 feet above ground. Put electric wire through the top of the fence to stop them from climbing over.  


Put of the same fence for gardens and flower beds. Putting hardwood chips down may deter the armadillo as well. They will not want to dig through all the chips.  


Make your yard uninviting: 


Sprinkle cayenne pepper around the yard. This will irritate the nose of the armadillo 


Get rid of the grubs and worms that the armadillo is digging for with pesticides 


Spread castor oil repellents in the yard 


This makes the grubs and insects taste bad and creates a foul smell in the burrows 


Remove any wood piles, rotting woods, or other structures that bugs and grubs live in 


Set up motion-activated sprinklers. Armadillos are skittish so a burst of water will deter them from an area 


Trapping 


Trap the armadillos near their burrows or flower garden  


Remove Artificial Food Sources: 


Feed pets inside 


Store birdseed, pet food, and animal feed indoors or in a secured container 


Store compost in a sturdy container, such as a 55-gallon drum or a store-bought composter 


Trapping strategies: 


Live Capture: 


Trapping armadillos can be extremely helpful in alleviating the issues.  


Set a trap right in front of the burrow or along the wall or fencing closest to the damaged area 


Create a funnel with wood guiding the armadillo to the trap 


Lethal Traps: 


Set a body-gripping trap at the burrows entrance or on a trail traveled by the armadillos 


Set them at dusk and make sure pets cannot get into the yard 


Preferred killing methods: 


CO2 chamber (if caught in a cage trap, simply place the trap in the chamber.) 


Shooting, using a shotgun, rifle, bow, or crossbow (target the chest area) 


Acceptable killing methods: 


Shooting 


Control strategies that don’t work particularly well or aren’t legal in Tennessee: 


Mothballs have been used but have no effect on armadillos.  


For information on legal pesticides click the following link, https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/environmental/environmental-health-topics/eht/pesticides.html 


Motion-activated lights have no real effect on armadillos since they have such poor eyesight 


Pour vinegar around a vulnerable area to deter armadillos from entering