Are You At Risk From Armadillos?

Most people are familiar with the clumsy-looking nocturnal quadrupeds, and we’ve surely all seen them smashed on the highway; however, these rather benign encounters don’t necessarily make us aware of the risks they could pose to our health.

On top of causing damage to yards due to their rooting and burrowing, recently armadillos have been accused of possibly being able to spread leprosy to humans! Find out more about armadillos to see if you are at risk, and learn how you can protect yourself.

About Armadillos

Armadillos have a distinctive shell of ‘horny’ material on their heads, bodies and tails. This shell, or armor, sports 9 movable rings, from the shoulder down to the hip. Their heads are small, with a pointed appearance, due to their long narrow snout.

Their tails are similarly shell-like, encased in 12 bony rings. Additionally, armadillos have 7 to 9 pig-like teeth on each side of their upper and lower jaw, three toes with sharp claws on each foot, and weigh between 8 to 17 pounds.

Found primarily in the Southern United States, they span the areas from South Texas, to the Southeastern tip of New Mexico, through Oklahoma, to the southeastern corner of Kansas, the southwestern corner of Missouri, across most of Arkansas, southwestern Mississippi, central Alabama, Georgia and most of Florida.

The armadillo’s habitat is usually dense, with shady cover such as brush, woodlands, forests and areas adjacent to creeks and rivers. These areas have sandy or loam soils that are loose and porous, as well as cracks, crevices and rocks.

Armadillos eat mostly insects and their larvae, as well as invertebrates like earthworms, scorpions and spiders. A minority of their diet is made up of fruit and vegetable matter, as well as vertebrates like lizards, small frogs and snakes, and the eggs of these animals.

The Link between Armadillos and Leprosy

Did you know that armadillos are the only species apart from humans that can be infected with leprosy? In July, nine people reported contracting the disease, and all of them claimed to have come into contact with an armadillo prior to infection.

The Bacterium

The bacterium causing Leprosy has an incubation period of three to seven years in humans before any symptoms start showing. While it was previously thought that leprosy could only be spread between humans, based on the genetic similarity of the leprosy bacteria examined from humans and armadillos, it is almost certain that leprosy can be spread from armadillos to humans.

Conclusion of the Florida Case

The number of people falling ill in the report isn’t far from the average number of people who contract leprosy ever year in Florida, which is ten. Still, all animals are able to spread some kind of infections to humans, so all precautions should still be taken with wild animals.

Damage Prevention and Control Methods

Here are some tips to preventing armadillos from entering your property.


Keeping armadillos out with a fence or other barriers could be an effective method, especially if the fence can be slanted outward at a 40 degree angle, with a portion of it buried.

Cultural Methods

Removal of armadillo’s usual habitat, such as brush or bushes, is also an effective method.

Repellents and Toxicants

Despite what the repellant aisle of the local home center may have you believe, unfortunately none are known to be effective.


While some are known to be effective, not all are legal as regulations vary. You must check with your local authorities for information on pesticides that are legal in your area.


Traps can also be set, with live or box traps, such as Havahart, Tomahawk, or homemade types. This should be done carefully, as traps must be set strategically along pathways to armadillo burrows and along fences or other barriers. It’s best to use traps that can be opened at both ends.

It can be difficult to ensure it only captures armadillos and no other animals, so we don’t recommend attempting this route unless you’re sure of the location of your prey, or you’re comfortable explaining to your neighbors why Mr. Fluffy got caught in your trap.

Lethal Force

Many rural residents will be familiar with the practice of setting up an evening watch with a .22 or other small caliber firearm to put an end to the nighttime excavating, but this isn’t a solution we necessarily endorse.

Given how closely people live to one another nowadays, you should definitely exercise good judgement and care with this method, and check the local laws and ordinances before proceeding.

Soil Insecticides

Finally, since most of the damage armadillos cause is a result of their rooting for insects and other invertebrates in the soil, soil insecticides may be used to remove this food source and make areas less attractive to armadillos.

Making sure you’re free and clear of the risks of armadillos takes time and expertise. Save time and hassle – Dugas Pest Control will help remove armadillos off specified areas with our safe and effective methods, with no angry neighbors involved!

Wildlife Exclusion: Getting Ready for Cooler Weather

Dugas Pest Control provides humane wildlife trapping service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana When the weather starts to get cooler, it’s only natural that people spend more time indoors. Humans aren’t the only beings that seek shelter during the winter months; animals do too.

Cooler Weather Prompts Animals to Seek Shelter

Animals of all breeds look for safe, secure places to retreat to, and sometimes, animals find our own homes to hideout for the winter. Although the cooler weather prompts wildlife to look for shelter, animals can do so at any time. With new housing developments, shopping centers and office buildings springing up all over Baton Rouge, animals have been driven out of their natural habitats, having to find new places to live and raise their young.

If you discover that an animal has found shelter in your home, there are measures that can be taken that are both humane and effective. Read on to find out more.

What is Wildlife Exclusion?

Pest control companies like Dugas Pest Control believe in exclusion because removing the pest is only part of the solution. Exclusion is a humane approach to pest control and involves sealing points of entry on the home so that the animal can no longer get in. Our company can help you identify the animal in your home, recommend a specific plan and prevent other animals from coming into the home. We can help with all types of animals, but the most common we work with include armadillos, raccoons and opossums.

Exclusion Starts with being Proactive

Wildlife exclusion is something that should start before you have a problem. Being proactive is the number one priority. As we head into the winter months, take the time to walk around your home and survey the exterior. Look for such things as loose siding, deteriorated boards along the roof line and screens with holes.

Also be sure to take the proper measures to protect your home from wildlife by doing the following:

–      Keep trash in sealed containers
–      Use wire mesh over chimneys
–      Have trees trimmed so that they do not hang over the home
–      Use small garden fences underneath decks
–      Make sure all cracks and holes are sealed
–      Keep clothing and blankets off the floor and preferably in sealed containers
–      If there are scratch marks, urine or feces anywhere in the home, be sure to contact a pest control specialist immediately

For more assistance getting your home ready for the winter season, contact Dugas Pest Control  today.