Armadillos, just for no special reason, is the adopted mascot of the Texan state. In the state, there is great affection for the near-sighted rooter and it has reached a faddish level as games, decals, puzzles, stuffed toys, candles, jewelry, figurines, T-shirts, and other items are decorated with or shape that represent armadillos.
The armadillo is a nine-banded animal belonging to the primitive order of mammals called Endentata, meaning “toothless.” Nevertheless, this name is misleading as the armadillo is not toothless. However, the animal has no incisors and canine teeth, but it has twenty-eight to thirty-two molars taking the shape of pegs that rest perfectly in its jaws. The seven or eight teeth which line each side of the upper and lower jaws are only visible when the mouth is fully opened. This easily explains why the animal was thought to be without teeth.
The nine-banded armadillo evolved in a warm and raining environment and till this date, it is still found in regions that look like its ancestral home. They are found in a variety of habitats which includes the brush, scrub, woods, and grasslands.
Since the armadillo is a well adaptable animal, it can also be found in environments such as tropical rainforests, scrublands, and open prairies within Texas. It cannot thrive in environments that are cold or dry, owing to the fact that its large surface area makes it susceptible to heat and water loss. The surface area is not well insulated by fat. Armadillos are excellent diggers; they dig mainly in search for food. For this single reason, it will difficult for the animal to survive in areas where the soil is too hard to dig.
Techniques to catch and release Armadillo back into the environment
One of the most effective methods of capturing armadillos and releasing it back into the environment is by live capture with cage traps. The animal is usually active late at night or early in the morning. Therefore, you can either stay up late or get up early and attempt to catch the animal if you see it, or you could let a live trap do the work while you rest. You can set up a trap that is big enough to catch the animal, and bait the trap with fresh earthworms or fresh fruit. Earthworms are mostly preferred to fruits because the fruit might attract raccoon instead armadillo. When using warms, it is advisable to place them inside a nylon stocking so as to let the smell out without the worms having to escape.
Once you have trapped and captured the armadillo, it is best to release it away from your environment or yard. You can release it into an environment that it is well adapted to like a pond, lake, or stream so that it can happily live there. The presence of brush or other cover will make the environment more conducive for it to live.
The armadillo originated from South America, and it is now found in North, Central, and South America. It traveled from Mexico in South America and entered Texas over a hundred years ago. In Texas, it was restricted to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in the 1870's, but twenty years later it could be found as far north as Austin. Its range in Texas extends northward and eastward until it found suitable living conditions in Louisiana. By the 1930's, it migrated to Oklahoma and its population increased in Texas.
Common problems they cause in Texas
The animal is used as a leprosy model because apart from humans, it is the only natural carrier of the disease, and it has been linked to the spread of leprosy to humans. This is why it is illegal to sell a live armadillo in Texas.
They can occasionally be a major pest in gardens, lawns, and agricultural areas. Armadillos are most times voraciously in search for insects and grubs to feed on; this can make them dig up quite a bit of land over night. Their pervasive burrowing system has also increased and worsens erosion and damages the foundations of buildings. It also causes damage to plant leaf by destroying the underlying layers which exposes them to greater sunlight penetration and dehydration.