Learning Center
Critters in the News

  • "Wild Pigs are becoming
    larger and  more
    aggressive"-                   
    DISCOVERY CHANNEL
  • "House Fire in
    Altemonte Springs
    caused by squirrels"-
    ORLANDO SENTINEL
  • "Raccoons attack
    woman in Lakeland"-
    TAMPA SUN TIMES
  • "Rats overrun Orlando
    International Airport
    despite efforts to
    erradicate them"-   
    LAKE MARY REPORTER
  • "New Orleans 2 Year Old
    dies from blood loss
    caused by rat bites"-      
    PCT MAGAZINE
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has been on the news
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news video of us trapping & removing wild pigs in Lake Nona, FL
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Armadillos

The only armadillo in the United States is the nine-banded armadillo (dasypus novemcinctus), aptly named due to the nine
bands going across the center of the armadillo’s back. These solitary, nocturnal critters are typically slow and lumbering,
but can actually speed up quite quickly if startled or being chased.

Contrary to popular belief, the nine-banded armadillo does not roll into a ball for protection, that’s a completely different
species of armadillo not found in the states. Instead, armadillos here are covered with a shell made mostly of bone and
hardened keratin, or horn, that drapes over the top of their faces, their backs, the tops of their limbs and their tails. When
given chase, an armadillo typically won't rely directly on their shell for protection from predators but will otherwise run into
prickly or thorny brush that will deter the hungry animal on its tail while leaving the armadillo unharmed. If frightened
suddenly, armadillos are likely to jump 3 to 4 feet straight into the air, unfortunately many times this means jumping into a
car fender or undercarriage.

The nine-banded armadillo moved into Texas from Mexico in the 1800s and has since spread north and east into the US, as
far north as Kentucky or Ohio, all the way east to Florida and every state between. This is due both to the lack of a natural
predator in the U.S. and the armadillos’ high reproductive rate. A family of armadillos on a single property could cause a
tremendous amount of damage to the lawn in search for food and even worse (and more costly) damage if left to burrow far
enough under the foundation of a building.

Habitat

Armadillos are burrowers and all around prolific diggers. Typically finding a spot near to a water source, a single armadillo
will dig itself a burrow and go deeper almost every night until its burrow is 12 or more feet long. Not having water around,
however, does not mean an area is safe from armadillos. As long as a food source is available, armadillos can survive just
about everywhere in the United States that the winters don’t get too cold, putting every acre of Florida at risk of armadillo
invasion. A mother armadillo keeps her young in the burrow alongside her until they are sexually mature, then they go off
and produce more burrows on their own.

Food Habits

The nine-banded armadillo is primarily an insectivore, feeding mostly on grubs and other worms. In many areas, they will
survive on ants and termites as well. Just like the armadillo, its food sources are also burrowers, thus causing the armadillo
to dig for a meal. A good hunter, however, the armadillo rarely has to dig more than an inch or two down to get its fill. To
supplement its diet, an armadillo may also eat bird eggs, lizards, or carrion.

Reproduction and Development

After mating, female armadillos go through a process known as obligate embryonic diapause, where the embryos created
during the mating process are left in a state of dormancy before any actual development occurs. The reason for this is to
hold off on giving birth until the weather conditions are suitable. Including the embryonic diapause, an armadillo’s gestation
period typically lasts about 8 months.

The mother armadillo then typically gives birth to 4 identical quadruplets, making the study of armadillo families
advantageous due to the lack of genetic variation in a group of young. Sexual maturity typically takes place at about one
year, when the four quadruplets leave their mother’s burrow and go their separate ways.

Foraging Behavior

Male armadillos’ territories typically overlap one another and because of this, it isn't uncommon to find unrelated male
armadillos sharing a burrow overnight. Each armadillo will dig its own burrow but whoever’s burrow an armadillo is closest to
when the sun comes up will be that day’s nest.  It is fairly easy to tell when an armadillo has been hanging around due
to many 1 to 3 inch, cup-shaped digs in a relatively small area. An armadillo can tell when there are insects up to 8 inches
under the surface but tend to only dig when the prey is only an inch or so down.

In an urban or suburban area, it is not uncommon to find burrows under homes, buildings, sheds, patios, air conditioning
units or bushes. An armadillo tends to make the entrance to a burrow somewhere with a certain level of protection which
can lead to many problems for a home or business-owner.

Armadillo Senses

  • sight- the least developed of an armadillo’s senses. armadillos are nearly blind.
  • smell- the most advanced of an armadillo’s senses, this is used in the hunt for food or to detect when a female is
    ready to mate.
  • hearing- an average sense of hearing can sometimes alert an armadillo to danger or a predator, but can sometimes
    fail to provide them significant warning if the armadillo is focused on digging or eating.
  • touch- overall the armadillo’s sense of touch is fairly weak, allowing it to do much digging and trudging through
    prickly or thorny areas unscathed. the armadillo’s soft underbelly, however, is very sensitive.
  • taste- a fairly heightened sense of taste allows for the appearance of food preference in some armadillo territories.

Signs of Armadillo Infestation

  • A number of 1 to 3 inch, cup-shaped digs in a relatively small area
  • Large holes, 10 inches or more found in the yard or around the perimeter of a building, shed, a/c unit or bushes.

Diseases

Armadillos aren’t typically known as serious vectors of disease but have been known in small amounts to carry some or all of
20+ parasites and bacteria that can affect humans, including tapeworms and salmonella. Armadillos are at a semi-high risk of
rabies, but due to armadillo bites being extremely uncommon, the spread from armadillos is very low. No armadillo in Florida
has ever been diagnosed with rabies. Other than humans, armadillos are the only mammals that have been diagnosed with
leprosy. The spread of leprosy from armadillo to human has not been substantially tested and the amount of armadillos with
leprosy is argued to be anywhere from .5 to 10%, with some estimates of up to 50% of armadillos in Louisiana.
Questions to ask other Wildlife Control
Professionals:
  1. Insurance...can they provide proof of
    Workers Comp & Liability Insurance?
  2. Licensing... can they provide proof of
    Pest Control & Trapping Licenses?
  3. Are they members of the BBB?
  4. Are there "hidden fees" such as per
    animal, per visit, per trap or per week
    fees?
  5. Do they guarantee their work for at least
    10 years?
  6. Do they accept credit cards?
If the answer to any these questions are
not satisfactory, call
armadillo911 today
at
407-699-4567
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