U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


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In the past 50 years, the range of the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) in the south has been rapidly expanding. As their range expands, armadillos increasingly come into conflict with suburban landowners. When foraging, armadillos often uproot ornamental plants. Their rooting also destroys gardens, lawns, and flower beds. Their burrowing can damage tree roots and building foundations. Most armadillo damage is a result of their feeding habits. Armadillos dig shallow holes, 1- 3 inches deep and 3-5 inches long, as they search for soil invertebrates.

A recent survey of Georgia county extension agents by scientists at the University of Georgia found that 77.6% of all agents reported receiving complaints or requests for information on armadillos. Armadillo related inquiries made up 10.1 % all inquiries for all agents across the state, surpassing even the white-tail deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

Armadillos are often assumed to destroy nests of ground-nesting birds. Armadillo diets have been studied in several states including Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, and Florida. According to these studies, vertebrate matter, especially bird eggs, made up an minor portion of their diet. The armadillo’s diet often consists of more than 90% insects, grubs and earthworms. Based on these studies, it seems that claims of armadillos being significant nest predators are unfounded.