Armadillos digging and damaging your yard? Holes and or piles of dirt in your yard? Call your local Critter Control office today at 800 CRITTER for effective armadillo removal and exclusion services. Description Widely known for their unique appearance and hole-digging habits, armadillos populate much of South America and are prominent as far north as the Southeastern United States. The only species known to inhabit the U.S., the nine-banded armadillo eats fire ants and termites among other potentially harmful insects, such as grubs and spiders. Problems arise when the armored animals wander onto land owned by people as they dig holes to search for food and create shelter, which can be costly to repair. Appearance On average, the nine-banded armadillo weighs 12 pounds (5.4 kg), is 15 inches (38 cm) long, and has a tail about as long as its body. With a name meaning "little armored one," armadillos are recognizable thanks to their flexible bone structures, which act as armor in defense against predators. The nine-banded armadillo is named for the increased amount of neutrally colored segmented bone plates that run across its back. Habitat While they live throughout South America and stretch across Mexico, the nine-banded armadillo only inhabits the states of Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. Unable to stand cold weather and extremely dry climate conditions due to the lack of fat tissue and poor water retention capabilities, the animals only live in climates guaranteed to consistently produce warm and somewhat humid weather. Entry Are armadillos known to enter homes or yards? The most glaring sign of an armadillo intruder is small burrows sometimes as deep as a couple feet. Spotting the small creatures can be difficult due to the fact that they are nocturnal, though they become active at dusk. Areas with high concentrations of grubs, insects, and other popular food sources can attract the animals in number. Damage Do armadillos harm people or property? Armadillo damage arises from their proclivity to dig holes. Their food-seeking process creates small holes about 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 8 cm) deep and 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 cm) wide. Additional damage is done when the animal strays too close to driveways or sidewalks, as well as low hanging house structures that suffer scratch damage from the hardened shell. Although rare, armadillos can transmit Hansen's disease, more commonly known as Leprosy, to humans. Armadillos are the only known animal susceptible to the disease besides humans. Control and Safety Unlike some wild animals, armadillos present little danger to people. However, controlling the animal can protect expensive landscaping and the integrity of surrounding property such as driveways and decks. One way to keep armadillos away is to build a fence that feeds a few feet into the ground. Adding unfavorable scents to the yard can deter the nuisance, as well, since they possess acute senses of smell. Trapping and Removal Trapping and removal can be tricky. Calling a certified professional to manage the procedure is the best way to ensure the safety of the animal and to make sure armadillos cannot find their way back to the property. Handling armadillos without proper protection can lead to scratches and increases the risk of contracting unwanted disease.