• Trappers warn Jacksonville residents to steer clear of armadillos

    By: Deanna Bettineschi, Action News Jax


    Local trappers say they are getting at least one call a day to get armadillos out of people's backyards.

    While they may be a nuisance, trappers say the bigger issue is that armadillos are known to carry leprosy.

    You may see them near the woods, or even in your own backyard. Trappers say they are seeing many armadillos.

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    “There’s not a day that goes by that we’re not catching armadillos. We probably remove thousands a year,” said Brian Payne, a wildlife consultant for First Coast Wildlife Services.

    Payne said there’s a reason armadillos want to be near your home.

    “Anywhere there’s a lot of good quality landscaping, you’ll have grubs and worms and that’s a buffet for armadillos,” Payne said.

    The CDC says in the southern part of the U.S., some armadillos are naturally infected with the bacteria that causes Hansen’s disease or leprosy. The CDC said leprosy can affect a person's skin and nerves.

    That's why the CDC is urging people to avoid contact whenever possible.

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    The Duval County Health Department said in Florida in 2016, there were 26 cases of leprosy and eight so far this year.

    Payne said since they deal with armadillos so often, they make sure to protect themselves.

    Payne said when they trap armadillos, they can be burrowed under a home, so trappers make sure they wear gloves.

    “It is something we like to educate all of our customers on,” Payne said.

    Payne said typically they don't do a lot of live handling and usually can get the armadillo into a trap without touching them by using cages.

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