According to The National Wildlife Federation, Armadillo means “little armored one” which refers to the bony plates that cover most of their bodies. There are 20 varieties, but in the US we see the nine banded armadillo (they really have 7 – 11 bands on their armor). They are related to anteaters and sloths and range from six inches to five feet long. They are seen mainly in the southeastern part of the United States and they have now found their way to Seabrook Island.
Armadillos sleep up to 16 hours a day and spend the rest of the time looking for insects such as beetles, ants, and termites, but they can be a nuisance. They like to burrow beneath the ground, which can be a problem for homeowners. These burrows protect the armadillo from the summer heat and winter cold. The burrows can run from 4 to 24 feet wide and 5 feet deep, thus causing considerable damage to foundations. You can tell if an armadillo is trying to build a burrow under your house by seeing areas around your foundation that look like something is digging there. Since armadillos have been seen on the island, you should check around your foundation frequently.
To discourage armadillos from digging under your foundation, you can place small rocks in that area. They don’t like to dig through rocks and this might discourage them from digging around your house. If it doesn’t, you will need to take additional steps.
Please don’t call the Gatehouse if you have an issue with an armadillo or other creature. Instead, seek the services of a professional wildlife specialist. If you Google “wildlife removal” you will find there are several such services available on Johns Island. The security officers at the Gatehouse can be very helpful, but it is not their job to remove wildlife.
For more information about armadillos, go to an article published in Tidelines from the Environmental Committee of SIPOA.
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