Armadillos, the barrel-shaped mammals covered with an armor-like shell, prefer living in areas that have sandy or loam soils. That is because such soils are loose, therefore, are easy for these small animals to dig burrows. They usually dig burrows to use them as a place to live, shelter, mate, give birth, and raise their young.
All species of armadillos, but in particular the nine-banded armadillo, are notorious for their digging habits. These species are common in the southern states, like here in Florida.
Armadillos can even dig multiple holes in the yard, to ensure they have enough dens, and you will find them digging holes and burrowing mostly under air conditioning units. The dens are very important for their survival as they use them as safety places where they escape in times of danger.
They also use the dens as breeding places where they make the nests in which they give birth. While most people associate the holes in their yards with the presence of chipmunks or other rodents, it should be noted that many of these holes are dug by armadillos.
You will find these cave-like holes among rock piles or around tree stumps. Also, armadillos like digging their burrows in areas around bushes or in dense woodlands. Because these animals forage for food in different places, they may cause damage to your lawn, flower beds, and vegetable garden. They feed on spiders, scorpions, larvae, and earthworms that also live in these places, and as a result, they damage them as they look for food.
Do Armadillos Live Underground?
Although you may spot some armadillos in your lawn or garden, this wildlife spends most of its time underground. Armadillos like resting and sleeping a lot as they only spend a few hours per day searching for food. They dig their burrows mainly for shelter and raising babies, and each burrow can accommodate up to 5 armadillos – the mother with her four babies.
Armadillos sleep even 16 hours a day, and are active mainly in the early morning and evenings when they come out to look for food. The rest of the time they will spend underground in their dens.
However, this may also vary depending on the season. Thus, during the summer months, they stay about 30 percent of the time in their dens, coming out only at night when it’s cooler. In contrast, in winter, 65 percent of their time is spent underground, and they only come out during the warmest part of the day.
However, it is essential to note that not all armadillos dig holes and underground burrows. Some of the armadillo species construct dens above the ground where they live. These species also may also choose to live in burrows that are abandoned by other burrow-digging wildlife. Sometimes they may also construct their dens under shrubs. So, the kind of home the armadillos create depends on the specific species.
What Do Armadillo Holes And Burrows Look Like?
To be able to identify the presence of armadillos in your yard, you have to know what their holes look like. The entry holes can be 3 to 5 inches wide.
Typically, a single armadillo can construct between five and eleven burrows scattered across different areas on their hunting and feeding grounds. However, they are located close together, every 1-1,5 feet apart.
The burrow has only one entrance, connecting to various underground tunnels. It is 7 to 8 inches in diameter and up to 15 feet long.
How Deep Do Armadillos Burrow?
Most of the armadillo holes are shallow, between 1 to 3 inches deep. But through soil erosion and because of other burrowers, these holes can get much bigger and eventually become a threat to house foundations and driveways. Armadillos have strong legs and sharp claws, and they dig the holes using their forefeet and nose to pull back soil until they get deep into the ground.
How Fast Can Armadillos Dig?
Armadillos are very fast in building their burrows, and in a record of 15 minutes, they will create something to hide for safety. However, when frightened, and depending on the specific species, one armadillo can dig a burrow in 5 minutes. These animals do not have a strong eyesight, but they use their smell to do most of their things. Even when digging or searching for food, they do not use their eyes, but they use their strong sense of smell.
How To Find An Armadillo Den In Yard?
Although armadillos are small and cute-looking creatures, they can also cause havoc in your yard. They dig up your lawn, flower beds, and even areas under your HVAC system. That is why it is essential to identify them when they invade your property.
Look for signs that indicate you have armadillos in your yard. Some of these signs include loose soil or lawn patches that look scratched or where the sod is pulled up and returned incorrectly. Also, look for signs of loose soil around driveways, sheds, wood piles, and under decks. The holes are circular, but they may also look like a recessed depression in the ground.
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