For the record, I did NOT say that I wouldn’t relocate an armadillo, only that I wasn’t particularly interested in trying to do so.
But no sooner had Armadillo Wars – Part One been published than the situation took a dramatic turn.
Having not yet read that column, the neighbors called to let us know they had stayed up the night before to do battle with this most Texan of pests. They had recently installed a new yard, and the beast was making hole-ly heck out of it. They were not amused and were determined to change the dynamics.
They managed to put the quietus on one, but an apparently related juvenile got away.
The main reason they called was to alert us to the middle-of-the night reports, along with the possibility of more. I must have slept through it.
But the next afternoon I went outside to do some watering and found what appeared to be a younger creature in the well house. He was quenching his thirst at a small leak near the pressure tank. I had left the door open to help keep things dry.
Naturally I thought I had him, slamming the door and pondering how I might capture him for possible relocation.
After locating an old pet carrier in the attic, I made several vain attempts to coax him out of the corner.
I thought the battle had been lost when he somehow scooted under my shovel through the door, avoiding the carrier and a 5-gallon plastic bucket. But after more jockeying, he ran headlong into the carrier propped next to some large plastic bags of gardening materials.
But as I reached to latch the carrier, he slammed into its back wall, causing it to roll onto the end, which looked like victory might still be at hand. However the momentum carried it over onto its top, the gate flew open, and he headed for the open woods at good speed.
I was fortunate, I thought, that no one had a video camera around to record this comedy of errors for posterity.
I surmised that this younger mammal had not yet received full instruction from his now demised parent, because he was out during the daytime. And he was much more destructive than usual, nearly digging up one bush that had been planted a month or so before.
Unlike his relatives’ nose-sized holes, he was making small craters, primarily around newer members of our garden, along with destroying one bag of compost.
I had hoped our encounter had discouraged his presence for a while, but more damage was apparent the next morning.
However, almost a week later he was again hanging around the well house in broad daylight. This time I prevailed. As he tried to dig in under those same bags of compost, I used a shovel to convince him to back up into the plastic bucket, which I promptly relocated to the bed of the pickup.
He has now been removed to a far away, remote area, hopefully not in proximity to any occupied housing. If you find him, there is no reward for his safe return. And my recent offer of a free armadillo to a good home is now officially rescinded.
A few nights later I was able to repeat my relocation efforts. They are surprisingly easy to sneak up on while their nose is burrowed deep in the ground.
It feels like a small victory in one battle, but we are not yet ready to declare the mission accomplished.
There are no doubt many more where those came from.