Armadillos are about the size of an opossum. Their front feet are well adapted for digging. Armadillos have poor eyesight but a keen sense of smell. They are active primarily from dusk till dawn in the summer. Most of their damage by digging is done at night. More than 90% of their diet is insect matter. They feed on earthworms, grub worms, scorpions, spiders, and small amounts of fruit and vegetable matter such as berries and tender roots. The adults weigh 8 to 17 lbs. They are about 2 1/2 feet in length including the tail. They are grayish in color. Their bodies are armor-plated. They have a gestation period of five months. Their litter size is four, all of the same sex (identical quadruplets). One litter per year is born in March or April.
Armadillos can be a real nuisance by digging in lawns, golf courses, vegetable gardens, and flower beds. They can be infected by an organism that is thought to be the human leprosy bacterium.
Cage trapping can be an effective way to capture armadillos, although they can be difficult to catch because they are unpredictable. Traps should be placed near fences or beside buildings. Trapping can sometimes be more effective if two long boards are used on either side of the trap to funnel the animal into the trap. Baiting the trap may not be necessary. If bait is desired, try spoiled fruit, earthworms or fishing worms. Cage traps should be at least 10 x 12 x 36 inches.
There are no fumigants or toxicants registered for the control of armadillos. However, since most of the damage is a result of their digging for insects in soft soil, an insecticide can be used to make the area less attractive (be careful, however; follow all pesticide label instructions exactly). Once the food source is eliminated, the animals usually go elsewhere.
Powdered sulfur may be somewhat effective in deterring armadillos since the powder could affect their sense of smell. In rural areas, shooting can be effective. Check local laws and ordinances before controlling armadillos this way. Remember, they are very unpredictable. It is always a good idea to check with your state wildlife agency about any permits needed to trap, relocate, or harass any species of wildlife.