Experience Hilton Head

Get to know the Lowcountry’s armored annoyance

The armadillo is rarely grouped with dolphins, alligators, sea turtles and other fauna associated with the Lowcountry.

But the armored mammal already has its thick, dull claws bored firmly into the sandy soils of inland Beaufort County and is burrowing its way deeper and deeper into the area. 

Here are a few fun facts about this critter. 

BANDED DIGGERS. The armadillo is rarely grouped with dolphins, alligators, sea turtles and other fauna associated with the Lowcountry. But the armored mammal already has its thick, dull claws bored firmly into the sandy soils of  Beaufort County and is burrowing its way deeper into the area. The range of these critters is limited somewhat by  temperatures — it doesn’t like it when it’s below 36 degrees and above 85 degrees. These banded diggers are often seen rooting through flower beds and burrowing on golf courses to snack on ants, termites and other small invertebrates. 

SCAREDY CATS. When an armadillo gets scared, it jumps straight up. A startled armadillo can jump three to four feet into the air, according to the National Library of Congress. 

SLOW MOVERS. With all that armor, armadillos still fall victim to one of their biggest enemies: motor vehicles. That’s because armadillos don’t move very fast. “Their biggest challenge right now is the highway system,” said Greg Yarrow, chairman of Clemson University’s Natural Resources Department. “If they don’t get hit by the tire of the vehicle, they will get hit by the bumper or the grill of the car. It is not a great adaptive trait,” he said. “They did not evolve for the vehicles.”

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