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Armadillos like irrigated lawns during dry weather

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Eyewear Unlimited Niceville

Armadillos feed mainly on insects. This includes pest insects such as armyworms, cockroaches, ants, mole crickets, flies and grasshoppers. They also love to eat earthworms and earthworms love moist soil.

Extended drought may cause armadillos to migrate to well-irrigated lawns and landscapes. This is because moist soil is available and they can dig more easily and find their food.

Armadillos feed mainly on insects. This includes pest insects such as armyworms, cockroaches, ants, mole crickets, flies and grasshoppers. They also love to eat earthworms and earthworms love moist soil.

Reproduction is interesting in that only one litter is produced each year and it always includes four identical young of the same sex. The young look like the adults except that they are smaller and their armor coat is soft and leathery and becomes harder with age.

Armadillos locate food by digging silver dollar sized holes in the landscape. The den site is made up of numerous “hiding” burrows throughout a 2 to 10 acre-sized home range. Armadillos are active mostly at night.

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The amount of damage from armadillo foraging varies. Many times, the damage is not as serious as it looks. If the digging can be tolerated, try waiting until normal rainfall patterns return. Once sufficient soil moisture and food is present in natural areas, armadillos may migrate out of urban landscapes.

Armadillos can be difficult to catch in a trap. But short of shooting the animal where it is legal and safe to discharge a firearm, trapping is usually the preferred method.

A problem armadillo sometimes can be caught in a live trap. A relatively large cage type trap is needed for this purpose. Bait can be made by suspending earthworms tied in a piece of hosiery or similar material. Over ripe fruit is may be used as bait. But some work has shown that correct placement and use of a trap is more important than the use of any bait. Armadillos are more likely to enter a cage trap when leaf litter or soil is placed over the wire bottom.

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If you haven’t caught the armadillo after several nights, place the trap in an area of recent digging. It helps to “funnel” the armadillo into the trap. This can be accomplished by placing the trap alongside a fence or wall and then place a 2 X 4 or 2 X 6 board on the other side of the trap positioned to create a “funnel” so that the walkway to the trap becomes narrower as the armadillo gets closer to the opening.

No legal chemical repellents, poisons or fumigants are registered for use in Florida to control armadillos.

More specific information concerning armadillo biology and control is available online at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw082 or from the UF/IFAS Extension Office in your county.

Larry Williams is the Extension horticulture agent with the Okaloosa County Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida. Contact Larry at 689-5850 or email lwilliams@myokaloosa.com.

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