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Armadillo Trapping & Removal

We have all seen armadillos either attempting to make their way across the road (often winding up as roadkill) or running through our yards. They are not native to Florida but are found statewide. Armadillos eat mainly grubs and other small insects leaving little holes in the top of the soil, grass or mulch that typically range anywhere from 1-3 inches deep. When customers call me and are trying to explain what they are seeing in their yard, I typically ask "Does it look like you took your knuckle and shoved it into the ground?" That normally gets a "ya...it does" response from them. This is called rooting. Another more obvious sign of an armadillo is a large hole in the ground where they have dug a burrow. We most commonly see armadillos burrow under areas where there is a 4 inch slab of concrete. These areas include air conditioning pads, pool pump systems, sidewalks, driveways and patios. They will also dig near tree and plant bases especially if the soil is soft. Armadillos can have multiple entrances to one burrow. Adding to the challenge in catching them, many times they will burrow in one yard, yet feed in others. Baiting an armadillo is rarely, if ever, helpful as they are used to rooting for their food not just walking up on it in a cage. They can be a very challenging animal to trap.

Armadillo facts:

  • They have very poor eyesight but most commonly feed at night.

  • An adult armadillo is 15-17 inches long (not counting the tail) and will weigh 8-17 pounds.

  • Pregnant females always give birth to identical quadruplets. She has one egg that splits into four all female or all male young.

  • When an armadillo needs to cross narrow water bodies they often walk on the bottom under water. If it is a wide body of water, they will inflate their stomach to twice its normal size allowing for enough buoyancy to swim across.

  • When surprised an armadillo will often leap into the air and then run quickly to a nearby burrow.

  • Watering gardens or lush plant areas in the morning is preferable since the soil can dry out in the afternoon and not be as easily detected by night-foraging armadillos.

  • Armadillos can also be excluded from small areas of extensive damage with fencing at least 2 feet high and with the bottom buried at least 18 inches deep.

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The strange behavior of armadillos

There is an old joke that goes something like this: "Why did the chicken cross the road?" The answer follows: "To show the armadillo that it can be done."

All joking aside, it does seem like there are a lot of expired armadillos on the roadsides here in central Oklahoma. It begs the question -- what is going on?

Biology and natural history provide a clue to this dilemma.

The fact of the matter is that armadillos have a very wimpy sense of sight. It is very, very easy for meat-eating animals to sneak up close to these unwary creatures.

At the very last instance, the armadillo will be alerted to the nearby presence of danger. The armadillo is "hard-wired" to one proven reaction to this dire situation: it will jump straight up, startling the dangerous predator. That will give the armadillo the opportunity to hit the ground running and get some distance between itself and the predator before the predator can regain its composure and take off in a belated pursuit.

The crux of the problem is this: it is no longer the 1700s. In today's age, high-speed automobiles and highways are the norm. If you should happen to encounter an armadillo that is in your lane of traffic when you come barreling down the road, it will do you little good to swerve so that the armadillo will go underneath your vehicle, rather than being crushed by your vehicle's tires. When your vehicle comes right up to the armadillo, its reaction will be to leap skyward.

There is an old joke that goes something like this: "Why did the chicken cross the road?" The answer follows: "To show the armadillo that it can be done."

All joking aside, it does seem like there are a lot of expired armadillos on the roadsides here in central Oklahoma. It begs the question -- what is going on?

Biology and natural history provide a clue to this dilemma.

The fact of the matter is that armadillos have a very wimpy sense of sight. It is very, very easy for meat-eating animals to sneak up close to these unwary creatures.

At the very last instance, the armadillo will be alerted to the nearby presence of danger. The armadillo is "hard-wired" to one proven reaction to this dire situation: it will jump straight up, startling the dangerous predator. That will give the armadillo the opportunity to hit the ground running and get some distance between itself and the predator before the predator can regain its composure and take off in a belated pursuit.

The crux of the problem is this: it is no longer the 1700s. In today's age, high-speed automobiles and highways are the norm. If you should happen to encounter an armadillo that is in your lane of traffic when you come barreling down the road, it will do you little good to swerve so that the armadillo will go underneath your vehicle, rather than being crushed by your vehicle's tires. When your vehicle comes right up to the armadillo, its reaction will be to leap skyward.

That kind of defense strategy works well with hungry coyotes, but it is a tragic mistake when all it does is place the armadillo directly in front of a speeding vehicle's front bumper.

Apparently, the armadillo did not get the memo; today's date is 2015, not the year 1715. The armadillos, unfortunately, are still reacting to the world like they did before the advent of modern, high-speed traffic.

And, lest you ask: "Don't armadillos roll up into a ball when danger is near?," that is the ploy of Latin America's three-banded armadillos. Central Oklahoma has the nine-banded variety; the central Oklahoma armadillo's reaction to danger is to run away, rather than curling up into an armor-plated globe.

Let's give a cheer for the intelligent chicken! We'd do well to recruit some of these savvy creatures to take on a role as "life coach" for the "haven't-got-a-clue" armadillos.

It is somewhat regrettable that Ma Nature's armored creatures fare so poorly when they come in close proximity to humankind's transportation system, but there is no easy solution to this unfortunate situation.

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His private plane blew two tires when it ran over critter on take off, then made a crash landing with collapsed gear

  • Pilot saw shortly after takeoff that the blown tires severed a hydraulic line
  • He alerted spotters on the ground so they could report about the damage 
  • Twin-engine plane ran off runway during forced landing at a Tunica airport
  • No one was injured in the emergency landing at the Tunica Air Center
  • Freeman, 78, was heading to Texas to shoot for the series The Story of God

The plane carrying actor Morgan Freeman, 78, on Saturday that was forced to make an emergency landing hit an armadillo and blew two tires during takeoff from a Mississippi airport, his friend said.
Mayor Bill Luckett of Clarksdale, a friend of the Oscar-winning actor, said that the twin-engine plane had its landing gear collapse and ran off the runway during a forced landing at an airport in Tunica.
The cities are close by in northwestern Mississippi, with Tunica about 40 miles from Tennessee.

No one was injured in the emergency landing at the Tunica Air Center that was possibly the result of an armadillo running out on the runway at the Fletcher Field airport, according to FOX13.
The pilot of the plane realized what happened quickly and he alerted spotters on the ground so they could report how bad the damage was because when the tires blew, they severed a hydraulic line.
Pilot Jimmy Hobson spent several hours circling and burning off fuel as a precautionary measure after FAA officials found pieces of the ruined line and tire parts on the runway at Fletcher Field.
Air traffic controllers sent the plane to Tunica because it has a long runway that would have been been necessary for a safe landing if the aircraft's brakes were non-functional.
When the plane hit the runway, it went about 2,000 feet before it began to skid prior to stopping.

A statement from the Tunica Airport said there was minimal damage to Freeman's plane during the forced landing.
Airport spokesman Patrick Collins said in an email Sunday that he could not give specifics because federal authorities are still investigating the Saturday incident.
Freeman said in a statement released by his publicist Saturday that neither he nor his pilot was hurt but 'I cannot say the same about my plane.'
The statement sent by Freeman's publicist said: 'Sometimes things don't go as planned and a tire blew on takeoff, which caused other problems.
'But thanks to my excellent pilot Jimmy Hobson we landed safely without a scratch.
'I appreciate the concern and prayers for our safety.'

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Mother's Day may be a little awkward for Larry McElroy next month.

Sheriff's deputies in Lee County, Georgia, said McElroy, 54, accidentally shot his mother-in-law with a 9mm pistol when he was trying to shoot an armadillo, WALB.com reports.

The armadillo died from the shot, but the bullet ricocheted off the animal, hit a fence and went into the back door of his mother-in-law's mobile home -- a distance of about 100 yards.

Then it went through the recliner where the 74-year-old woman was sitting and into her back, according to WFSB.com.

Carol Johnson, 74, was taken to a nearby hospital and is expected to recover, according to KPTV.com.

Officials have not said whether McElroy faces any charges for the shooting.

James Morgan, the Dougherty County Extension Coordinator, told WALB TV that shooting armadillos is recommended for residents that live in the county, or a trap can be used to capture them.

"At first I ask if they live in the city or county, because shooting is an effective way of getting rid of them. However, you have to be safe when you do that," Morgan told the station.

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