Asking yourself the question, “what do armadillos eat?” Before determining that answer it may be helpful to know a bit about this bizarre looking creature first.
Despite how incredibly clumsy they may appear with their protective armor, they are phenomenal swimmers, diggers and runners. An armadillo can hold its breath under water for six minutes. Their snouts are long and resemble a pig and they have a sticky tongue that they use to capture their food from the ground.
It is a myth that armadillos are blind. They can see a bit but their eyesight is very poor, however, they have such a strong sense of smell that it makes for any vision problems that they have. They commonly weigh anywhere from 8 to 17 pounds and come in colors of pink, brown or gray.
So Exactly What Do Armadillos Eat?
Primarily, armadillos love ants. They are capable of eating over 40,000 ants in one sitting. The majority of their diet consists of larvae and insects, mainly scorpions, spiders and worms. On average they will eat over 200 pounds worth of bugs per year.
Additionally, an armadillo will feed on vegetable and fruit matter like roots and berries. On occasion they will also eat certain vertebrates such as frogs, snakes, lizards and the eggs from them as well.
Armadillos are very devoted to their feeding time so a large portion of their time is spent roaming around in search of food. Their sense of smell is what draws them to their prey which is why from time to time you can observe them stop dead in their tracks and begin to dig frantically to capture their prey below the earth's surface.
Armadillos And Disease
You may not feel threatened if you see an armadillo on your property since they rarely are known to bite but they do carry a lot of disease. Armadillo can become infected with mycobacterium leprae that causes leprosy. Symptoms of leprosy include numbness, skin lesions, muscle weakness and nerve damage. By scratching with their claws, they are the only animal capable of transmitting leprosy to humans and other animals.
Rabies is also commonly carried by the armadillo. This is a virus that paralyzes and can ultimately kill any mammal, even humans. Tapeworms are a problem with the armadillo too. These are digestive system parasites that are easily given to humans and pets. They can also carry salmonella which attacks the blood and causes vomiting, diarrhea, chills and fever. This is spread simply through their fecal matter that they might leave laying around your yard.
If you notice your garden, lawn or flower bed has an appearance of patches of dirt or shallow holes, an armadillo may have been there digging in search of larvae and insects. If you happen to hear noise under your porch, they could be making themselves a home.
A hungry armadillo can do an impressive amount of damage in one night making your flower bed and lawn look like a feeding lot. They can do horrible things to foundations or house structures as well. If one happens to die under your home, its odor will leak into your house and cause nausea and severe headaches. Even when they're alive their scent is quite unpleasant.
Where To Find Them
Armadillos are a North American animal found primarily in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. They prefer dense brush with plenty of shade like woodlands and forests. They like loose soil since they get the majority of their food from the ground and they dig burrows in stumps, rocks and brush and given the chance, under your home.
You should never try to capture an armadillo or remove one from your property on your own. Also, if you have pets it is essential that you seek out the help of a professional to capture the animal before it spreads disease around your yard.