Armadillos in Northwest Georgia
a busy roadway. The giveaway is the protective armor on the head, body and tail of the armadillo. The armor will have 7 to 10 movable rings between the shoulder and hip shield on the animal. The armadillo will have a pig like snout with peg- like teeth that are good for grinding food, but not good for catching other animals. There is only one species of armadillo that currently will call the southeast home.
Armadillos have few natural predators. At the same time, they are not protected in Georgia. They can be hunted or trapped throughout the year. It is safe to say you see armadillos most often when you see one on the side of the road that was killed by an automobile. I will add that if you conclude you must do something to eradicate or reduce armadillo numbers on your property, to contact DNR or Game Management to make sure what you are going to do is legal in fashion.
Armadillos will dig their own burrow for a home or will use the burrow of another armadillo. Armadillos do not hibernate in the winter, but they also are not active when temperatures are above 85 degrees F. In the winter, they will be active in the warmer parts of the day. When we get hot in the summer, armadillos will become more active in the night hours. Armadillos can stay in the underground burrow for days, but they are not known to store food and do not have much body fat. They must come out of the burrow to look for food. I will add that in bad weather events, they can freeze or starve to death if they are unable to find food sources. They have poor eyesight and need a good sense of smell to find food. The diet will normally consume of insects and, believe it or not, soil and plant litter. They will eat fruit items or vegetable matter when available. Insects preferred to consumer are beetles, wasps, moth larvae, ants, millipedes, centipedes, snails, leeches and earthworms. They can eat frogs and toads plus lizards and even small snakes. A UGA study of armadillos did show insects as the main part of the diet.
What type of damage can armadillos do? Rooting in lawns, golf courses, vegetable gardens or flower beds may be the most common. Digging damage by burrowing under foundations, driveways and other structures can be problematic, too. There has been armadillo complaints in some parts of the U. S. where armadillos keep folks awake at night by rubbing their shells against the home. Armadillos can carry disease such as leprosy, but to be clear, our publication states no reported positive cases in Georgia, Alabama or Florida. There have been a couple of cases in Texas of transmission, but it was from consuming raw or undercooked armadillo meat. There was one study on armadillo damage in Texas in the mid to late 1970s and one in limited area, the damage was estimated at $ 20,000.
Again, as far as I know, armadillos are not protected in Georgia. I would visit with DNR prior to doing any eradication to confirm your legality in armadillo removal. Armadillos are at times controlled by trapping. Wire cage live traps measuring at least 10 x 12 x 32 inches are recommended. It is also recommended to use wings of 1 x 6 inch lumber placed in a “V” arrangement in front of the trap to funnel the armadillo into the trap can help. Try putting the trap along natural barriers like logs or side of a building can help increase capture. There are no bait, lure or attractant that have shown to be successful in increasing the number trapped. There are no repellents, no toxicants or no fumigants registered f or armadillos. Shooting in some places has been an effective control method if ordinances allow. Also, check with regulatory agencies such as Game Management on trapping and releasing. This may not be well received since you are releasing on another person’s property or not good for the armadillo. You are taking the animal from their food, water and shelter that can result in death to the armadillo. There are also nuisance wildlife control operators that can remove armadillos as a business.
For more information, contact UGA Extension- Gordon County at 706- 629- 8685 or email gbowman@ uga. edu.