Nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus)
such as the one you see here have been moving north from South America
for the past three million years. Armadillos originated in South America
about 50 million years ago, and the nine-banded moved north, crossing
the Panamanian land bridge. It is the only armadillo species found in
the US, where its range continues to expand. As the armadillo actually
has teeth, it is no longer classed as Edentata ("without teeth") but is
now usually grouped with the Xenarthra. We have left our armadillo on
the Edentates page, because these are still its closest relatives. There
are 20 species of armadillo living in Central and South America.
Armadillos dig for grubs and create burrows near water with their
powerful feet and claws. In addition to grubs, they also eat other
insects and invertibrates. These interesting, inoffensive creatures can
be seen along roadsides, trails, and streams (where you can see into the
brush), usually around dawn and dusk.
I grew up in a more rural part of Florida. Creatures
getting in and around your house was the norm. Maybe I was naive to
think that "Downtown" (we're close enough to borrow the term, I think) I
would be limited to the insect variety. Ants, roaches and termites would
be the worry.
Then came the rats. Our affection for citrus trees encourages them as
much as their love for the urban environment. Possums have scared the
daylight out of me but the nifty trash cans from OUC have minimized that
But the armadillos. They are driving me crazy. I have seen them as road
kill. I have seen the marks on the yard from their dinner escapades. I
knew they were around. But a pair have taken up under my house. I think.
A few weeks ago my dogs went nuts. At 3 in the morning. I checked,
nothing. Over and over again the same thing. I found nothing in the
yard, no sign of humans or animals. I decide to hang. And then I heard
it. The sound of something crawling under the house right at my
backdoor. I run out and meet mister (or mrs) armadillo trying to get
back under. Grabbing a broomstick, I try to deter it (i.e. beat it away)
unsuccessfully. Then follows in his/her partner as I am trying to find
where the first crawled to.
Now I am freaking out. Are they burrowing under my foundation? I hear a
million new creak in the floor. Are they disease ridden? A new baby
makes you jump on those thoughts immediately. How to get rid of them?
With the internet a my guide, because everything there is true, I find
that you have to trap them. And getting some one real to do the work is
expensive, for a teacher's salary at least.
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| Orlando, FL Armadillo Trapping