For quite some time here in the north Georgia area, many people would argue that armadillos are only present in south Georgia, and far south, because they were so rarely seen in our areas. These creatures have gone almost unabated in their reproductive cycles due to the lack of natural predators. But like most things…..they have worn out their welcome!
Scientists classify armadillos as relatives of anteaters and sloths. Armadillos have poor vision, but a keen sense of smell. No other mammal in Georgia has bony skin plates or a “shell”, making them pretty easy to identify on their nightly strolls through our yards and mulch beds. The armadillos we have here in Georgia range from 12-17 lbs for the females, and 8 to 13 lbs for the males. They average 24-32” in length for adults. Their teeth are more designed for grinding than chewing, making capturing prey very difficult.
They reproduce slowly, females only have one litter a year having 1-4 young at each birth.
Rooting small holes and searching for grubs and worms are the primary activity for these miniature dinosaurs but they have incredible digging abilities! In one night, a single armadillo can dig a new borough beside a foundation or under the concrete padding for an AC unit! At least Georgia doesn’t have the great ancestor to our armadillo that was the size of a RHINO!! Imagine those holes in your yard!
Armadillos do carry diseases such as leprosy but the animal to human transmission is very rare. They are considered to be an invasive species, due to property damage to lawns and landscaping. Live trapping is necessary in most situations, although state law allows catch netting and shooting as legal forms of capture.
There are quite a few programs that we at HomeFree Wildlife and Pest solutions can employ to battle with the armadillos. Granular deterrents, homeowner education, landscape management, and live trapping will help to make living with wildlife a little bit better for both the animals and us humans!
Written by Wes Peeler