Wildlife
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I find numerous holes in turf areas and also mulch beds. The holes are 4-6 inches deep and 2-3 inches wide. Sometimes I find larger holes close to the foundation of my house. What is causing this problem and what can I do about it?
  2. I have squirrels all over my yard and in my oak trees. Is there anything I can do about this pest?

1. I find numerous holes in turf areas and also mulch beds. The holes are 4-6 inches deep and 2-3 inches wide. Sometimes I find larger holes close to the foundation of my house. What is causing this problem and what can I do about it?

9 banded armadilloThis sounds like typical damage caused by armadillos. They dig the smaller holes looking for their favorite food-worms and grubs. I am not sure why they dig the larger holes-probably they are just searching for a place to start a permanent home. They are very difficult to keep out of your yard particularly if your yard is open with no fences. Keeping white grubs controlled with insecticides in your turf areas will eliminate their source of food and at times reduce their digging.

A fence will sometimes keep them out of your yard, however they are good diggers and can easily dig under the fence. They also are good swimmers and if necessary can move quickly on land. I have had good luck catching them in live animal traps along fence lines where they routinely pass under the fence in the same place. The literature says that they can be caught in live animal traps baited with live earth worms or over-ripe fruit. I have had little luck catching them this way. I place the live animal trap directly in front of a route they regularly take. They often wander right into the trap. The armadillo is considered an exotic, invasive species, so if you catch one in a live animal trap, they must be destroyed. They cannot legally be transported to another location and released, even with the permission of the property owner.

Check the edis web site for publication UW070 for more information.

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2. I have squirrels all over my yard and in my oak trees. Is there anything I can do about this pest?

Eastern Gray SquirrelUnfortunately squirrels are a real problem to central Floridians and there is not a lot that can be done to control their populations. They have ample natural habitat and food with our native vegetation. They are territorial so as soon as one dies or is killed there is another one to take its place. Clients have told me that they are captured 100 or more squirrels in their yard and they have as many now as they had in the past. They can be legally caught in live animal traps and relocated to another site with the approval of the property owner. Poisons cannot be legally used to control squirrels.

Sometimes squirrels can be repelled from garden areas with a hot pepper spray. Blood meal and garlic also seems to repel squirrels. Landscape cloth or poultry can be laid over garden areas to prevent digging by squirrels.

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