Armadillos are becoming more common in Middle TN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — When you think of armadillos, Texas or a dry, dusty part of the country might come to mind. But nowadays, they are found right here in Middle Tennessee.

Armadillos had a well-established population in far western Tennessee in the 1960s and 1970s, and eventually made their way east.

“In the eastern two-thirds of the state, middle Tennessee and east Tennessee, we didn’t really have armadillos,” noted Dr. Tim Gaudin, professor of biology, geology and environmental science. from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. “The first reports I started getting were in the early 2000s.”

Armadillo in the Murfreesboro area. (Courtesy of DeAnn Hays)

The first report Gaudin received in East Tennessee was at Southern University at Sewanee on the Cumberland Plateau, which he did not expect. Since they are native to South America, they were considered warm weather creatures. However, they were able to adapt to the cold and even made it to the Smoky Mountains.

“When they showed up in the Smokies, which they did a few years ago, they showed up at Newfound Gap at an elevation of 5,000 feet,” Dr Gaudin pointed out. “It was the first place we saw armadillos in the Smokies, not Cades Cove or the lower elevations you might expect.”

But armadillos can be somewhat embarrassing for owners.

“They really like well-watered lawns because they eat the insects that are in the soil,” Dr. Gaudin said. “And so, if you maintain a beautiful garden and water it, and maintain a beautiful lawn and water it, you provide a very good habitat for these soil insects or arthropods that armadillos like to eat. And they are perfectly happy to come and relieve you by digging your garden or your lawn.

Because they eat insects, they are difficult to trap with a traditional trap. It is therefore suggested to contact a bug removal service. It is also not recommended to handle them because it is one of the rare mammals, apart from man, carrier of leprosy.

It should be noted that this would be a rare event and no cases have ever been reported in Tennessee.


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