An armadillo is a mammal that is usually small or medium sized that is found in most parts of the US. As with the case of many other animals and pests, they too enter our habitat in search of food, and shelter mostly and not really to create a nuisance. But alas, it is difficult to live with it as they create havoc in your yards and gardens. All those hours of neatly planting, watering, pruning, etc. will go to the dogs when they attack your yard in search of what they want. In order to understand why they do this, let us take a look why they dig. After all, it is this amazing digging capability that makes them so destructive.
Reasons for digging
Armadillos feed on grubs, insects, and tiny invertebrates like the earthworm, termites, ants and the likes that are usually found in the soil. So it is but obvious that in their natural urge to search and uncover the food, they will dig. Apart from this, they also take nutrients from the soil as well feed on certain fruits under the soil. Therefore, digging is a natural action while they hunt for their food. They have claw-like phalanges that makes it easy for them to dig, mostly deep into the soil.
It is natural for armadillos to dig holes and hide there. They are often hunted by predators, who feed on their flesh. So, when they sense any threat from such predators like a coyote, they choose to dig and hide.
Shelter is another reason why they dig. The best shelter for armadillos is the burrow deep under the ground. This can keep them safe and give them a place to live in, without anyone troubling them. They have to venture out only for food.
Another reason why they dig is to create entry and exit ways for themselves. Most of these burrows deep underground are interconnected. These act as entry and exit ways for the armadillos; even if one exit is closed, they find another one to get out.
They also need a safe place to reproduce and rear their young. So, when the time is right, the armadillos dig and create safe havens where they can give birth in peace. This protects their young from the climatic conditions as well as the predators.
Other interesting things
An armadillo has poor eyesight, but a keen sense of smell. They have clawed toes and use this to dig and that too effectively. Usually, their burrows are just wide enough for them to pass. In short, it is their natural tendency to use their claws and dig as they are born that way. So, they cannot help it.
If you want to deal with armadillos in the yard then it is better to get it fenced so their entry is barred. And you can also use their sense of smell against them by planting some strong odor plants to keep them away.
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