Recently a member of our team captured an armadillo in a live-animal-trap. We relocated it to a different location and decided to photograph the armadillo at the release. When the armadillo was released, I was surprised to see how little fear of humans the armadillo had, he did not “run for it” as I expected; but this may be due to the fact the armadillo has poor eye sight and it may not have even noticed us. Eventually, he did realize he was free and he made a mad dash for some nearby bushes. Now the part that did really surprised me was how fast the armadillo dug a burrow. He was underground and completely out of sight within 15 minutes from the moment he started to dig. Even when the photographer poked his camera inside the bushes for a better photo, it did not deter the armadillo from digging his burrow, dirt was literally flying through the air. After approximately 15 minutes of digging, there was no sign of the armadillo; he was completely out of sight, underground.
Gone… in 15 minutes flat.
So the next time you see an armadillo’s burrow or a 8 inch diameter hole under your house or air condition unit’s cement slab and you wonder how long the hole has been there, realize that most likely it was done very recently and done within a very brief time period. The armadillo is naturally equipped for digging; he has a snout built for digging and moving dirt along with a set of powerful front and rear paws with sharp claws, make for an accomplished digging critter.
Notice the armadillo’s cone shaped head, snout and front paws with claws.
This is a rooting and digging critter.
The armadillo is a natural earth mover; in order to have a safe and secure hiding place, the armadillo may dig 10 to 12 different burrows within its foraging area which is usually around 10 acres. If threatened, the armadillo runs to one of his burrows for safety. I realized that if an armadillo can dig an underground burrow in about 15 minutes, then it will not take him long to play havoc with my lawn. As I mentioned, the armadillo has very poor eye sight, but our Creator gave him an excellent sense of smell. The armadillo’s olfactory sense (sense of smell) portion of the brain occupies about 1/3 of the brain’s size, which relates to the fact that an armadillo can smell a grub or worm which may be located six inches beneath the soil surface, which by the way, is the other reason besides digging burrows, the armadillo puts his digging abilities to use to get to his food source and plays havoc with your lawn.
I recall one afternoon of observing and admiring my manicured lawn, only the next morning to hear my wife shrieking about how our lawn looked as if it had been plowed; it had trenches and holes all over the lawn. What a mess an armadillo had done to my lawn in only one night. You may ask how I knew it was an armadillo. The armadillo makes a cone shaped hole, approximately 3-6 inches deep into the soil; this shape of the hole is caused when the armadillo sticks his “cone shaped” head into the soil to sniff for food. Notice the shape of the armadillo’s head in the photo above and the shape of the hole in the soil, in the photo below.
Cone shaped armadillo foraging hole.
Once the armadillo locates a food source by his sense of smell, he goes to work with his snout and front paws, throwing dirt and sod aside in order to reach the grub or worm. It is not that he is being intentionally mean or destructive, he is only doing what armadillos do naturally, they forage for food by digging.
So the next time you see an armadillo’s burrow or a hole under your house or air condition unit’s cement slab, and you wonder how long the hole has been there, realize that most likely it was done very recently and done within a very brief time period. The armadillo is naturally equipped for digging; he has a snout built for rooting and digging along with a set of powerful front and rear paws with sharp claws.
So, to answer the question I asked at the beginning of this blog … “How long does it take an armadillo to dig a burrow or a hole?” — Not very long, only about 15 minutes; the armadillo is an amazing digging creature.
By the way, Yard Gard does not harm the animal, we use the animal’s sense of smell and taste against him in order to condition him to move on to less obnoxious smelling soil, that is to an area that has not been treated with Yard Gard. (To humans there is no smell) Remember a third of the armadillo’s brain is for the sense of smell, that’s how he finds food.
One more “by the way”, if you happen to have an armadillo burrow under your house, patio or shed, call me to learn how to evict him by using common household products that really works. Do not throw Yard Gard into the burrow, the animal is not foraging when he goes into his burrow, they go for safety or to rest. Yard Gard should be applied to the lawn or the foraging area. Call toll free 1-855-665-3746 and ask for Charlie. Armadillos under a structure is not good for the structure, they deteriorate the foundation.