Thanks to John Miller, Missouri Department of Conservation’s naturalist program supervisor, I have two new weapons to wield—flour and hot pepper— in my woman versus armadillo war. No, I am not going to deep fry my dillo.
Flour is an inexpensive way to track animals. Armadillos are creatures of habit and sifting flour on the ground, which my neighbors won’t think is unusual, will show my little armored one’s tracks in and out of the garden. We’ll bait our trap with worms and set it in the middle of his flour trail. John said once his path is identified we won’t need bait. The armadillo will simply bumble his way into the trap. If that happens the first night we set the trap, I’ll eat the damn dillo.
Armadillos in Missouri are nine-banded armadillos, the only mammal in the world to give birth to four identical young each year. All four, called pups, develop from the same egg and share the same placenta. God help us. We’re dealing with clones.
Armadillos are great swimmers and their best stroke is the dog paddle. As I mentioned in previous blogs, armadillos can hold their breath up to six minutes and walk along the bottom of streams and ponds. When they need to cross a larger body of water, they gulp air into their intestines to make themselves more buoyant. This ability has allowed them to expand their home range from South America to Mexico and the United States.
In Texas, armadillos are revered. Sales revenues from coffee mugs, bumper stickers and t-shirts depicting winged armadillos are estimated to be in the millions. These armadillo worshipers wish their beloved animal could fly over roads to avoid being creamed. When RJ and I see armadillo road kill we high five and sing, "and another goes and another goes and another one bites the dust."
Armadillos have poor eyesight but can smell worms and grubs a foot underground. Their claws and snout are effective, destructive digging tools. They don’t care for pepper because of their overly developed sense of smell. Sprinkling hot pepper around their favorite areas will deter them until you trap them.
They eat grubs and ants but their negative effects far outweigh this benefit. If you catch an armadillo here it can be released at approved sites but the problem is he’ll find your neighbor's garden. John recommends drowning the armadillo in the trap because it’s the most humane. I’m not so sure about that considering they can hold their breath for six minutes.
I know one thing—I wouldn’t dare drown an armadillo in Texas. He’d break free, sprout wings, and fly back to my garden in Missouri.
Causes Jules Jacob Supports
CASA of Southwest Missouri, Master Gardeners of the Ozarks, University of Missouri Master Gardeners, Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocates Association...