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Armadillo

The nine banded armadillo ( Dasypus novemcinctus) is a mammal that was introduced into Florida in the 1920s.

It has done very well in urban areas because of lush irrigated lawns and gardens. It would be considered a very benificial critter because of its diet which consists mostly of insects and grubs if it weren't for its digging.

Armadillos are one of natures most proficient diggers. They can ruin your lawn and garden with what I like to call 'Dillo Divots'. They also dig their burrows at the base of your home which can crack foundations or crack pipes.

Having an armadillo removed from your yard is not a job for an amateur. Give us a call and we will send out one of our licensed professionals to solve your armadillo problem.

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Excerpt from great publication:

The Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)
Joseph M. Schaefer and Mark E. Hostetler
Armadillos are prehistoric-looking animals that belong to a family of mammals found primarily in Central and South America. The earliest fossil ancestor of our North American armadillo occurred about 60 million years ago; it was as large as a rhinoceros. Our present-day nine-banded or long-nosed armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus, is much smaller; adults normally weigh from 8-17 pounds (3.5-8 kilograms) (Figure 1). This species occurs in Texas and east, throughout the South. It occasionally is found in Missouri and South Carolina. However, cold weather limits the northern boundary of the armadillo's range. Armadillos were not always present in Florida. During the past century, they expanded their range from Texas into the Florida panhandle. From 1920 to about 1970, there were several introductions of armadillos into the Atlantic coast region of Florida. Then the panhandle and peninsular populations expanded until they merged. Armadillos are now found in uplands throughout Florida, except in the Keys and parts of the Everglades and Big Cypress swamp.Description Armadillos have a shield-like shell covered with horny scales. Joints in the shell are flexible, which enable the animal to bend and twist. Only the ears and belly of the armadillo are without bony armor (Figure 2). These peculiar animals have 28-32 peg-like teeth in simple rows well back in the mouth. There are no front teeth. Armadillos have poor eyesight and hearing, but a keen sense of smell. Both males and females are about the same size, look alike, and have similar habits. Despite their awkward appearance, armadillos are agile runners and good swimmers, and even have the ability to walk underwater across small streams.Typical HabitatArmadillos inhabit dense shady cover, such as brush, woodland or pine forests. Soil texture is also a factor in the animal's habitat selection. They prefer sandy or loam soils that are relatively easy to excavate.Armadillos typically rest in a deep burrow during the day and become more active during the late evening, night, or early morning. These burrows are usually located under brushpiles, stumps, rockpiles, dense brush, or concrete patios, and are about 7-8 inches (18-20 cm) in diameter and can be up to 15 feet (4.5 m) long. Armadillos often have several burrows throughout their territory, but use only one to raise their young.ReproductionAlthough armadillos breed in late July, the 5-month gestation period is delayed which results in the young being born in February or March. Only one litter is produced each year, and it always includes four identical young of the same sex because they develop from a single egg. The young look like the adults except that they are smaller and their armor coat remains soft and leathery for some time, becoming harder with age.DiseasesCompared to other common mammals such as raccoon and opossum, armadillos are remarkably free of parasites. Twenty-six parasites and disease agents have been identified from armadillos in Florida. These include 2 arboviruses, 19 bacteria, 2 protozoans, 1 nematode, and 2 mites. All except the nematode and mites may also infect humans or other animals, but no severe outbreaks of these situations have been reported. Rabies has never been diagnosed in armadillos in Florida.In 1971, a captive armadillo developed leprosy 17 months after it was inoculated with the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae obtained from an infected human. Subsequently, armadillos have been used in further study of this disease. Leprosy in wild armadillos has been reported at rates ranging from 0.5% to 10% in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Mexico. However, no infections have been found in the more than 2,500 armadillos examined in Florida. The relationship between infections in wild armadillos and in humans is not clear.Causes of DeathArmadillos are one of the most common victims of highway mortality in Florida. The armadillo's instinctive response of jumping upwards when startled may be effective at avoiding a lunging predator, but not an automobile or truck passing overhead. Also, many are killed by dogs and coyotes.Feeding HabitsThese animals feed primarily on insects and their larvae. They also eat earthworms, scorpions, spiders, snails, and small vertebrates and their eggs. Reports of armadillo damage to birds' nests on the ground are rare. People cannot help but appreciate the fact that armadillos consume large amounts of armyworms, cockroaches, ants, wasps, flies, beetles, and grasshoppers. They have been known to dig up entire yellow-jacket nests. Armadillos usually search for food by rooting or digging in ground litter, but will occasionally eat berries and mushrooms.Type of Damage Caused by Armadillos
Armadillos are, to some degree, beneficial because they eat adult insects and larvae. But their feeding behavior also can cause problems for property owners and managers. When looking for insects in the soil, armadillos dig numerous holes in golf courses, lawns, flowerbeds, and gardens. These holes typically are 1-3 inches (2.5-7.6 cm) deep and 3-5 inches (7.6-12.7 cm) wide. They also uproot flowers and other ornamental plants. Armadillo burrows under driveways and patios can cause structural damage; and burrows in pastures can pose a potential hazard to livestock.

References
Fitch, H.S., P. Goodrum, and C. Newman. 1952. The armadillo in the southeastern United States. J. Mammal. 33:21-37.
Howerth, E.W., D.E. Stallknecht, W.R. Davidson, and E.J. Wentworth. 1990. Survey for leprosy in nine-banded armadillos Dasypus novemcinctus from the southeastern United States. J. Wildl. Dis. 26:112-115.

Humphrey, S.R. 1974. Zoogeography of the nine-banded armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus in the United States. Bioscience 24:457-462.

Wolfe, J.L. 1968. Armadillo distribution in Alabama and northwest Florida. Quart. J. Fla. Acad. Sci. 31:209-212.

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Footnotes
1. This document is WEC 76 and was previously published under the title "Control of Armadillos." It is one of a series of the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida. First published: January 1998. Reviewed: 2001. Major revision: October 2003. Please visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for more publications.
2. Joseph M. Schaefer, District Director, County Operations, Everglades Research and Education Center; Mark E. Hostetler, Assistant Professor and Wildlife Extension Specialist, Dept of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation; Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

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Copyright Information
This document is copyrighted by the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) for the people of the State of Florida. UF/IFAS retains all rights under all conventions, but permits free reproduction by all agents and offices of the Cooperative Extension Service and the people of the State of Florida. Permission is granted to others to use these materials in part or in full for educational purposes, provided that full credit is given to the UF/IFAS, citing the publication, its source, and date of publication.

 


 

 

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