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Benefits of Armadillos

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A major reason to garden is to provide wildlife habitat so perhaps we should look at the positive aspects of that possum on the half shell armadillo. They eat whole yellow jacket underground colonies and can lap up fireants without being harmed. There is no record of humans getting rabies from  armadillos   and although a small number harbor leprosy the rare transmission came from eating undercooked meat. Properly, cooked, some cultures consider it superior to pork.  Their body armor is indeed made of bones which have joints for flexibility. For scientists interested in genetic studies, armadillos are interesting as each litter consists of four identical babies, an unusually dramatic form of polyembryony.  There are twenty species native to Latin America and only the nine-banded armadillo has become naturalized in the United States. 

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.