Final Installment of the Armadillo Conundrum
The final solution for armadillos in yards and gardens isn’t simple. Human values and legalities complicate approaches regarding any armadillo solution. For instance:
1. Conflicting laws in different government entities (federal protection areas, states, and municipalities, etc.)
2. Moral, ethical, and religious values
3. Financial considerations ranging from building fences to hiring pest reduction firms to buying traps and weapons
While researching legal ways to stop armadillo damage in my yard, my vegetable garden, and the foundation of my deck, I talked with a regional director of the state wildlife commission and also with fish and game officials. The high-level official from the wildlife commission said that shooting armadillos at night was permissible, but I could not use artificial light. When I reminded him that armadillos were nocturnal animals, and artificial light was necessary to find them in the dark, the official said to,” use my best judgement.”
Wildlife officials told me that there was no bag limit (have a freezer full, they said) but hunting at night with lights was against the law…I guess the armadillos must have a strong lobby in the halls of government. So, I asked if it was OK to trap them at night and relocate them? No problem, they said, but in some states relocation of armadillos was illegal for health and safety issues. Then, how about trapping them and executing them while they were in the traps? The officials looked a little disdainful about that. And, I agree that it doesn’t seem very fair. They did say it didn’t break any local laws.
One woman wrote in an online article that needlessly harming or killing one of God’s simple creatures was wrong. She said that mankind had a duty to coexist with armadillos as part of God’s plan…God put them here for a reason and man’s plans were no match for…well you know. So, therefore, I figured if I dressed and ate the armadillo that I shot I would be heeding God’s will about dominion over animals and would not be wasting a living creature’s life, but I am pretty sure the damage to my marital bliss would be very high.
The third issue relates to costs of hiring someone else to do my dirty work. I did hire a professional to rescue an adult skunk from the trap sitting under my bedroom window, and he came, removed the skunk for relocation he said, and then entertained us with many wildlife stories he had experienced, and then charged us $75. Average armadillos per season at the Lake Cottage at Flint Creek is six or seven. It could get expensive.
A friend who is responsible for grounds maintenance of a city-owned property that includes recreation areas for a town of 25,000 people, including seven 18-hole golf courses and seven medium to large man-made recreational lakes, told me that armadillo defense was not done by shooting or trapping but was best done by starving them out. He said if you removed the food source for armadillos you would thereby remove the armadillos. I trust that he knows what he is talking about. He uses a chemical that kills grubs — the main armadillo food source. The potent chemical solution is spread over the ground two or three times a season and he claims that it works.
Along the same lines, next summer is the second season of our two-year program using milky spores, which is a natural occurring substance that kills the grubs that feed armadillos. The spores use the decaying grub to produce more and more milky spores and the guarantee I got from the supplier said two years should work for a ten-year period. I guess we will see.
I had originally added a recipe for baked armadillo but my wife (who is also my editor) said she was having trouble even reading the recipe, so I removed it. Typing “Armadillo recipes” into any search engine will provide more than ample sources for recipes.
In the “more thoughts” category:
1. Is the armadillo the state mammal of Texas? Heard that it is.
2. Can armadillos spit when threatened and thereby spread the leprosy virus? I heard that was the case in Florida.
3. The armadillo should be revered as the eater of many harmful insects and should be welcomed in our landscape, and that may be true.
There are many other ideas, but, ONE THING I KNOW FOR SURE* I will keep removing them from my yard and garden by trapping, shooting, scaring and by any means possible. And, no, they won’t show up on my dining table any time soon. The love of my life (my wife) will not allow it.
(*My apologies to Oprah Winfrey for carelessly using her catch-phrase.)
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