The nine-banded armadillo is about the size of a house cat or opossum with jointed armor bands on its midsection. It feeds primarily on insects, snails, earthworms and other types of food.
Armadillos can be hunted year-round with no bag limit and trapped during the regulated trapping season. The commission recommends wearing gloves when handling armadillos because of the very low, yet real, risk of leprosy. Armadillos’ natural predators are feral pigs, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, dogs, foxes and raccoons.
Depending on temperatures, the armadillo can be nocturnal or active during the day.
Native to Central and South America, armadillos were first recorded in Texas in 1849 and have since expanded their range north and east, crossing the Mississippi River sometime in the early 1940s. They appeared in western Tennessee in 1980 and the first confirmed armadillo sighting in North Carolina occurred in 2008.
The public may report observations of armadillos by contacting Extension Wildlife Biologist Ann May.