Okay, this post should probably go under the “Only In Texas” section, but I thought my title was a bit more catchy, LOL! We have been absolutely baffled by a phenomenon that keeps taking place in our front yard. We keep finding these weird holes, all over the yard, like somebody took a garden spade and randomly attacked our lawn with it! We considered gophers, but the holes were too small, and we considered voles or moles, but the holes were too large. Meanwhile, our grass is being annihilated!!
Well, last weekend, Gaylon was outside working on our yard, and got to talking with our neighbor, Rick. He told him about these mysterious happenings in our front yard, and Rick told him he knew the source of our problem. Armadillos. No, really. Armadillos!
So, Gaylon comes into the house and tells me he has discovered what’s been going on in the front yard. I said “Okay. . .?” He said “Armadillos!” I stared at him with my mouth hanging open for a few stunned moments. “What????? Are you serious?” (I mean, how could he possibly be serious, right?) He went on to explain to me that armadillos love grubs, and they come over from the field across the way and dig around in our yard for grubs!
Well, I needed more information! This was too weird to be true, so I checked on Garden.com, and sure enough: armadillos do indeed sneak into people’s yards at night and destroy them by foraging around for grubs and other small insects that live in the grass. According to Garden.com:
Anyone who has had an Armadillo in their yard knows just how much destruction can occur if left unchecked. Armadillos will tear up turf, nest under slabs and eat just about anything around your home.
Armadillos love to nest in rock piles, around trees or shrubs and under slabs. Their burrows are usually 15 to 25 feet long and cause extreme damage to tree roots. In many cases, this damage leads to the tree dying. These same burrows can lead to flooding when dug around crawl spaces and can undermine patio slabs or walkways. This weakening ultimately leads to the concrete falling apart and breaking. Armadillos are strong diggers and rely on this strength for food and shelter. They are attracted to tasty fruit which may be found in a garden or compost pile. Once they start coming around, expect them to return every night as they are mostly nocturnal. They like to establish “runs” where they will travel every night expecting to find food.
Lawns which are left untended will often develop beetle grub populations which will certainly attract armadillos from far and wide. Earthworms are another food source they like and either grubs or worms can be found by digging up sod, raking away leaves, moving carefully laid wood chips or bark, or simply digging frantically until such food is found. Either way, the mess they leave is aggravating, damaging and never ending once it begins.
Armadillos mate in the fall and have their young around February or March. Almost every litter will have identical quadruplets. These miniature adults are ready to walk, swim and behave much like their parents. By the end of the summer, they, too, will be wreaking havoc in the neighborhood!
OMG!!!!! So, if we don’t take action now, our lawn is going to look post-apocalyptic by September! Never mind the fact that they could weaken and destroy the foundation of the house. Garden.com recommends trying to eliminate the food source first, as a passive means, or taking more aggressive steps by trapping them or shooting them! (Our neighbor, bless his little Texan heart, warned Gaylon that if he shot them, he should use a silencer!!)
Well, I do think they are sort of cute, in a “it’s-so-ugly-it’s-cute” sort of way, and am very much opposed to shooting them, no matter how much Gaylon swears to me that they taste like chicken. So, I think we will start trying to kill off the grubs, and hopefully they will go away.
I have to say, though, that I really wish I had some night-vision camera equipment. I would definitely set it up and film these little bandits!!
PHOTO: nine-banded armadillo by Robert Hosker – Fotolia.com