She first noticed her lawn was dying in patches, and there were holes everywhere. She thought the damage was the work of grub worms, moles or gophers.
Armadillos were actually the culprits. Ferguson had no idea they are now in Polk County, but research revealed that the armored critters have been reported as far north as New York City.
She said most people don’t know they are around. The first one noticed would probably be a road kill, which is attributed to the mammals having poor eyesight and slow movement.
Ferguson does most of the maintenance on her expansive lawn but receives periodic help from Brent Cooper, a landscape specialist.
Cooper was the first to deliver the news about the armadillos.
After her surprise, Ferguson discovered the unwanted visitors had tunneled close to the foundation of her home.
“Apparently they were looking for a warm, cozy place to spend the winter,” she said. “They had built several tunnels around the house.”
After consulting with a pest control specialist, she sought and received help from a Rome firm. They sent a representative who set traps for about eight weeks. “The armadillos were too smart,” Ferguson said. “We did not catch one.”
Although she did not catch an armadillo, she had the holes in her foundation repaired. Workers used concrete and rebar to close the entryways under her home.
She said she has learned a lot about their habits since they started visiting her home.
Armadillos are about 2-3 feet long and sleep during the day in burrows they dig using the long nails on each foot. They have few enemies since their armor plating keeps them safe from predators. At night they come out and forage for food. Their diet consists of worms, grubs, beetles, ants, termites and other insects that they dig for in the ground.
The woods and forests in Georgia provide a perfect habitat for these animals, with good soil for the burrows and soft, insect filled dirt in which to forage for food.
“They are still not welcome around my home,” Ferguson said. “I love a pretty lawn, and they want to destroy it.”