Only the nine-banded Armadillo is found in the United States. “Armadillo” is the Spanish word for “little armored one”. This weird-looking animal is unique as it is the only mammal with a barrel-shaped hard shell. Flexible armor-like plates cover a tough leathery shell.
The primary Armadillo diet consists of insects, including spiders and scorpions. They are nocturnal animals, foraging for food only during the night. They spend about 16 hours a day sleeping! Armadillos are not social animals and only get together to keep warm or to mate. Armadillos do not store fat to insulate against the cold. As they do not hibernate, they prefer warm habitats. Without fat stores, they cannot survive prolonged freezing weather. The armadillo is related to sloths and anteaters. They have a similar long, prickly tongue, making it easy to access ant hills.
The armadillo uses its long nose to root in the ground and powerful claws to dig holes. Their long heads with pointed snouts dig a cone-shaped hole several inches deep, with a large pile of dirt banked up around it. Holes caused by armadillos often look similar to that caused by raccoons. Raccoons use their hand-like paws to dig and the shape of the dirt piled up around the hole is different. Armadillos create heavy damage in your garden or along the edge of a path. Raccoon damage is generally to an entire lawn. A trained wildlife professional can quickly spot the difference between damage done by armadillos and damage caused by raccoons.
Armadillos have a strange manner of reproduction. These mammals breed in late Fall, yet the embryo somehow stays dormant until the Spring. A nine-banded armadillo will deliver four identical quadruplet pups in each litter. All four pups develop from the same egg and share the same placenta. Armadillos are the only mammal that delivers multiple young formed from a single egg! The babies are born with their eyes open and are quickly mobile within a few hours of birth. The mother nurses her babies until they are weaned at approximately two months of age. The little pups remain with the mother until the next breeding season. They are usually mature and ready to mate around the age of two years.
While Armadillos can host parasitic worms and even rabies on rare occasions, conversations about Armadillo diseases are usually about Leprosy. The name alone causes panic!
There are only three mammals that can be infected with the Leprosy virus: humans, armadillos and Mangabey monkeys. In some locations, more than 20% of armadillos are infected. Leprosy is a slowly evolving infection that can take many months and even years for symptoms to appear.
Strangely, there are some people who eat armadillo meat and say it tastes like pork! If you are going to make a meal of an armadillo, definitely take precautions. Make sure the meat is cooked to well-done stage. Greatest risk of virus contact is during the processing of the animal for consumption. The animal’s body fluids and tissue carry a high risk!
We also perform wildlife trapping in Olive Branch MS for rats, mice, squirrels, skunks,
moles, opossums, raccoons, and much more.
So if you have some little visitors you need evicted from your home or property,
give Apex Wildlife Control a call today.
We are happy to help!