Armadillos in Florida

When I first moved Florida, I was really charmed the first time I saw an armadillo up close. As it toddled across a lawn at dusk, I remember thinking how exotic yet clumsy it looked.  Read on to find out how truly unique this animal is…

Appearance and Biology

Ranging between eight and seventeen pounds, most of the armadillo’s body is covered in a hard yet flexible shell.1 But don’t let that scaly, reptilian appearance fool you—armadillos are mammals!—though all the offspring in the typical litter of four are identical quadruplets, which makes armadillos unique among mammals, reproductively speaking.

Armadillos in Florida

Armadillos are found throughout the southern United States from Texas to Florida, though they are not native to Florida.1

Armadillos love to dig and burrow, staying in the ground during the day until they emerge at night to feed on insects and other small critters on or in the ground. These earth-dwellers also do well in the water, for they can “walk underwater across small streams”1 and can even inflate their stomachs to help them float across larger bodies of water.2

Conflicts with Humans

Armadillos and humans do not always happily coexist. All that digging and burrowing can damage lawns and gardens. If you think your property may be affected by an armadillo, see How to Identify the Wildlife Species Responsible for Damage in Your Yard and Baiting the Nine-Banded Armadillo.

Chances are you’ve seen armadillos who have been hit by cars on the side of the road. Armadillos often become roadkill because their natural response to a threat is to jump into the air, which, of course, is no way to avoid an oncoming vehicle.1


  1. Joseph M. Schaefer and Mark E. Hostetler, The Nine-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), WEC76, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2015, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw082
  2. “Armadillo: Dasypus novemcinctus,Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, n.d., http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/mammals/land/armadillo/

Photo credits: ivkuzmin/iStock/Thinkstock

2 Comments on “Armadillos in Florida

  1. I have a family of armadillos under my shed. I also have dogs and do not want them in my yard. How can I get rid of them humanly?