SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Mysterious holes are popping up in communities in Savannah that are not caused by squirrels nor moles but instead, by armadillos.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, most armadillo damage occurs as a result of the animals rooting in lawns, golf courses, vegetable gardens and flower beds in search of earthworms, grubs and other insects.

Nick Barber, co-owner of Critter Control.

They dig numerous shallow holes, uproot flowers and plants, and many have been known to cause damage by burrowing under foundations, driveways and other structures.

Kaitlin and Nick Barber, co-owners of Critter Control in the Savannah/Hilton Head area spoke with WSAV NOW about why residents are seeing an increase in armadillos in the area and what they can do when they run into an issue.  

What time of year are armadillos most active?

Armadillos do not hibernate but cannot tolerate high temperatures either. In winter, their activity increases during the warmer part of the day and during the hot summer, activity will shift to the cooler night hours. Armadillos in the Savannah area are most active between February and November.

What are the main signs of armadillos in the area?

Armadillos love to burrow in their search for food and shelter, so the biggest sign of them will be large burrows at the base of trees, bushes, and foundations. You usually see small conical holes dug, ranging between 3 and 8 inches deep all throughout the yard.

What kind of damage do they usually cause?

Such destructive digging can ruin the aesthetics of your home’s exterior and damage critical underground pipes, cables and structural foundations.

Armadillos are also known to carry various diseases such as leprosy and rabies. These diseases can be easily transmitted when an armadillo is cornered or forced to protect itself from a threat.

Whether it is you or your household pet, it is best to keep a safe distance from armadillos whenever possible.

What can residents and property owners do to not attract armadillos to their yards?

Fences are a good way of keeping the critter from burrowing through to your yard.

Since armadillos love to burrow, decreasing the amount of space where they can dig up landscaping is key. Placing wood chips in your yard, especially around your flower beds, makes it more difficult to burrow through.

Treating your lawn for insects on a regular basis. Armadillos generally burrow through loose soil and under shrubbery looking for grubs and insects. Treating with certain bug sprays can take away the food source that attracts the armadillos. They also enjoy fruit when available and will also eat root plants in the garden, such as carrots and beets, so this means keeping yards clear of garbage and trash that could attract insects and other critters.

No repellants or deterrents work long-term, unfortunately. The most effective method for removal is an experienced trapping service, such as the one Critter Control of Savannah/Hilton Head offers.

Armadillo traps can be placed either on top of their burrows or at strategic points around your yard. Traps will allow you to catch and relocate the armadillo to a more appropriate location. However, handling the pests without proper tools and equipment can be dangerous, so be sure to contact a professional for proper care.

What kind of other animals cause issues in Georgia this time of year?

Georgia is home to a variety of wildlife all year. Georgians can experience encounters with bats, raccoons, squirrels and snakes during these times and can be a health hazard and cause costly damage.