Trapper John Schmidt - Licensed Animal Wildlife Handler - 504-415-5504
There is only one species of armadillo in the United States; having moved in from Mexico in the past hundred years. Since they spread across most of the southern states. It is believed that the decimation of natural predators such as wolves helped create the conditions allowing them to spread northward. They are affected by the cold which limits their range but that does not help us in Louisiana. They are active from dusk to dawn in the summer while they move around a lot during the day in the winter, and don't come out much at night when it is cold.. They appear to endlessly dig, being equipped with strong front claws, and have been known to sleep up to 18 hours in the winter months. Though they look ungainly they can move quickly and cross streams by walking along the bottom. It can also swim quite well.
Armadillos can grow to almost 20 pounds and over a foot long, and can live up to 15 years. The females bear four identical babies in a litter after five months. The young will stay with their mother sometimes for up to a year but generally wander off to find their own way in six or so months.
Though people have been known to eat armadillos they should be handled with caution as they can carry deadly diseases, one being leprosy which they acquired sometime in the passage of time after Europeans brought it from the old world.
Some groups list armadillos as endangered while the State of Louisiana, along with most other states, list them as an invasive species and allow the trapping and hunting of them.
Trapper John catches an average of 250 armadillos, or more, a year. Armadillos are very prevalent in the New Orleans area.
Armadillos dig large burrows with more than one entrance under buildings and tear up gardens and lawns in their quest for insects and worms which are their primary source of food. Though they have bad eyesight they have a keen sense of smell and there are no known bait that works to lure them into traps. The trap must be placed in such a way the armadillo cannot avoid it with the help of added barriers to guide the animal into the trap.
Armadillos are known to dig multiple holes, anywhere from one to several inches deep, in areas searching for food. That leads them into conflict with homeowners who don't want their flowers destroyed or burrows under their homes.