Are Armadillos Dangerous? | Is It Dangerous To Touch An Armadillo?

Concerned about armadillos in your area? You’re likely asking yourself, ‘Are Armadillos Dangerous?’ Get your question answered here!

Are Armadillos Dangerous to your garden or property? The question often comes to mind when encountering these unique creatures. Instead of making assumptions on your own, read this article to clear your cloud of doubts.

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 What are Armadillos?

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Armadillos, members of the Dasypodidae family, are native to the Americas. They feature armor-like shells of bony plates covered by tough, leathery skin. This armor not only provides protection from predators but also regulates body temperature. Armadillos are primarily nocturnal creatures with strong, shovel-like claws and keen senses of smell and hearing. They consume ants, grubs, termites, and other small invertebrates.

 Are Armadillos Dangerous?

Armadillos do not pose a direct threat to human beings. However, armadillos can spread leprosy infection to humans as they are one of the few known carriers of the Mycobacterium leprae bacterium. The primary mode of disease transmission is direct contact with the animal or its excreta. Additionally, consuming the flesh of infected armadillos can also pose a risk. If you come into contact with an armadillo without any safety gear, thoroughly wash your hands and the exposed skin. Additionally, armadillos can also damage gardens by digging for insects and grubs.

Is It Dangerous To Touch An Armadillo?


Touching an armadillo is not a wise decision due to the risk of transmission of leprosy, as discussed earlier. Additionally, this nocturnal creature harbors ticks, so handling an armadillo without gloves increases the chance of insect bites. That’s why it’s recommended to discourage this annoying creature from your yard or garden.

Do Armadillos Attack People?

Generally, armadillos are not aggressive animals and do not attack people. They are mostly nocturnal creatures that focus on foraging for food, such as insects, small plants, and fruit. However, if cornered or feeling threatened, they can use sharp claws to defend themselves. Instead of attacking, they can roll into a ball in defense. Always maintain a safe distance and avoid provoking them.

 Are Armadillos Dangerous to Cats and Dogs?

Armadillos are generally not aggressive and avoid interactions with cats and dogs. However, they can pose some risks to pets. The primary concern is the potential transmission of diseases such as leprosy. Armadillos are also the carriers of the Salmonella bacteria, posing another layer of risk to pets like cats and dogs. Ingesting feces or digging in soil contaminated by armadillos can put your pet at risk. Additionally, their sharp claws could cause minor injuries if there is a direct interaction. To minimize the risk, discourage your pets from digging or eating soil where armadillos are active.

Note: Seek immediate veterinary attention if your pet encounters an armadillo to address potential health concerns.

Can You Keep An Armadillo As A Pet?

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shutterstock/Christopher Biggs

As discussed earlier, armadillos are a threat to human beings, cats, and dogs, so keeping an armadillo as a pet is discouraged. Armadillos have specific dietary and environmental needs that are challenging to meet in a domestic setting. Additionally, they carry diseases like leprosy.

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