Armadillos just want to eat bugs.

They aren’t interested in human beings.

And they do not discover animals fascinating either.

But even still, the scaly, oval-shaped mammals have landed by themselves as one of the most irritating invasive species in the Southern U.S., including South Carolina.

This is very likely since of the complications the pointy-snouted animals lead to even though gathering their prey. Or possibly it’s on account of the leprosy some have that can be transmitted to humans.

At any price, the South American natives won’t be leaving anytime before long considering the fact that armadillos’ projected vary in the United States expands an additional 2.5 miles every single year, claimed Dan Peeples, assistant smaller recreation undertaking chief with the S.C. Office of Natural Assets.

The critters are existing all over South Carolina but have known as the swampy Coastal Plains house for a longer time than they have other regions of the point out.

“I really do not know any county which is not reported them,” Peeples claimed. “And if there are counties that have not described them, it is probably just mainly because no one’s in fact taken time to do so.”

DNR does not preserve a rely of how lots of are listed here. Human beings may perhaps by no means see one, apart from possibly as roadkill.

Peeples stated armadillos are observed as significantly north as Illinois, but they are better suited for tropical climates. They have leathery armor and can expand to be about the measurement of a cat. 


The vacationers from Central and South The united states possible produced it to the United States by all-natural migration. Some may perhaps have also spread throughout the country right after escaping zoos or enclosures broken by hurricanes in Florida.

As armadillo populations raise in places where they currently are, the animals drive out into a lot more fertile areas on the lookout for food items and new homesteads.

They get their food stuff — bugs primarily —  by digging little holes that are usually no a lot more than 3 to 5 inches deep and a pair of inches broad. Peeples explained the foraging brings about incredibly very little important hurt because the holes created are ordinarily small.

“It’s just a nuisance in that it may possibly mess up your flower mattress or you will have all these minor holes in your property,” Peeples reported.

A College of Georgia review reported 99 per cent of their diet program is produced up of ants, beetle larvae and wasps. But they consume termites, spiders, earthworms and millipedes also.

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The S.C. Office of Pure Means considers armadillos a nuisance and a health and fitness hazard. File/Andrew J. Whitaker/Workers

More relating to are the deep burrows the animals develop to relaxation in. The University of Florida said burrows are typically found under brush piles, rock piles, stumps or concrete patios and can variety from 7 to 8 inches in diameter and up to 15 toes extended.

A number of burrows can be existing as a result of an armadillo’s territory. But they only use one to increase their youthful. Litters are nearly often in fours.

These burrows can be an concern for livestock, in particular animals that may errantly action in one and grow to be lame.

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The burrows can also trigger injury to the roots of shrubs or crops in an location and structural harm to foundations or driveways.

The aesthetic damage can be mounted. But zoonotic health conditions (people that can be transferred from animal to human) carried by armadillos are a even larger situation. 

 Leprosy is probably the most regarding a person.

Armadillos and human beings are the only two species that can give leprosy to each and every other. The S.C. Department of Overall health and Environmental Manage reported the exceptional, treatable illness has an effect on the skin, nerves and mucous membranes, like the lining of the nose.

Signs can involve discolored patches and growths on the skin, reduction of eyebrows or eyelashes, muscle mass weak point or paralysis, eye problems that may lead to blindness and nosebleeds, amid other issues.

Leprosy, formally known as Hansen’s disease, is unfold by means of extended near make contact with with a particular person who has the untreated illness. 

It may also be caught by means of speak to with armadillos that could be in a natural way infected with the bacteria that brings about Hansen’s disorder in individuals.

DHEC explained in an Aug. 4 e mail that no scenarios of leprosy involved with armadillos have been claimed in South Carolina. The company has had two circumstances of the condition in individuals documented in the last 5 decades. 

Leprosy in animals is not reportable to the company.

If zoonotic diseases associated with armadillos becomes an challenge “I imagine we could see a change in the funding and the presence of gurus that were making an attempt to eradicate them,” Cory Heaton, a Clemson Cooperative Extension professor and condition wildlife specialist, advised The Write-up and Courier in 2022.

“But at the moment, I will not see the armadillo receiving that considerably awareness,” Heaton said.

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There are no rules in spot to safeguard armadillos in South Carolina since they are not match animals. The species can be harvested, trapped and essentially managed.

Persons want to have a looking license to go after them, but there is no closed year on that. A distinctive allow would be wanted to hunt them at night.

No permits are needed to trap or shoot the animals within 100 yards of a person’s residence. 

“Now that also usually means you require to make positive you’re complying with any town ordinance or guidelines preventing the discharge of a firearm, everything like that,” Peeples stated.

It is suggested that humans not tackle armadillos or trouble their feeding or burrow regions, as microbes from ailments the animals may well have can persist in moist soils for up to two weeks.

While a cultural cuisine in some spots, DNR does not propose men and women consuming them.

Every single Friday, the Increasing Waters e-newsletter gives insight into the most up-to-date environmental troubles impacting the Lowcountry and the relaxation of the South.