Have you ever seen an armadillo scratching around in your backyard? Maybe you’re hoping to trap and relocate the armadillo and you are wondering what types of food to use as bait. Whatever the reason, you’re wondering, “What does an armadillo eat?” How much does an armadillo eat during an average day, and how many different kinds of food will it eat?
Keep reading! In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and more!
What You'll Learn Today
What is an Armadillo’s Favorite Food?
Armadillos eat a lot of different types of foods, but they seem to prefer foods that they dig for. Grubs, earthworms, and other ground-dwelling insects are some of their favorites.
In addition, armadillos will eat many other types of insects, such as grasshoppers, termites, and wasps. They also like all kinds of spiders, snails, beetles, ants, and even scorpions.
Armadillos won’t stop at bugs and insects, though. They are omnivores, so they eat pretty much anything they can get.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, armadillos will eat nearly 500 different types of food. Aside from insects, some other foods they like to eat include small reptiles, mushrooms, fruits, veggies, seeds and other plant matter, eggs of birds and reptiles, and even carrion.
How Much Does an Armadillo Eat Per Day?
The exact amount of food armadillos eat varies and may depend on season and species.
One source claims the 9-banded armadillo can eat up to 40,000 ants in one setting, while the giant armadillo can eat up to 200,000. Aside from this number, though, there is not a lot of specific information available.
What is known is that armadillos spend most of their waking time either digging for food or creating burrows. They may only be awake for 8 to 10 hours in a 24 hour period, spending the rest of their day asleep.
For this reason, they may be able to survive on a relatively smaller amount of food than animals of similar size.
Check out this video of an armadillo scrounging around for bugs in the yard.
What Plants Do Armadillos Eat?
As noted above, armadillos are omnivores, meaning they eat a little bit of everything. That said, they don’t eat a whole lot of plant foods; at least 90 percent of their diet consists of insects.
Though they don’t typically eat a lot of plant materials, there are a wide variety of plants that they will eat if they are hungry or can’t find anything better.
Armadillos enjoy the occasional vegetable such as pumpkin, corn, and green beans. They may also eat a surprising amount of leafy greens like spinach and lettuce.
Armadillos will also eat the seeds of various flowers and shrubs. Sometimes when digging around in gardens, they’ll chew on root vegetables like carrots and rutabagas.
Sometimes, armadillos will even eat fruit.
What Fruits Do Armadillos Eat?
Once again, armadillos aren’t very picky, not even when it comes to fruit. They will eat many different kinds of fruit, including bananas, pears, apricots, wild fruit, and berries.
Of course, armadillos don’t eat a whole lot of fruit, as less than 10 percent of their diet includes plant materials of any kind. But occasionally, it seems, they do enjoy a sweet treat.
Sometimes they can be seen eating half spoiled fruit they find on the ground, underneath fruit trees or thrown out for birds. In fact, the little creatures seem to enjoy eating fruit enough that it is sometimes used in live animal traps as bait for catching armadillos.
Do Armadillos Eat Snakes?
At this point, it may not surprise you to learn that armadillos sometimes eat the strangest things. Though they definitely seem to prefer worms and insects, occasionally, they have been seen eating snakes as well.
Armadillos don’t seem to make a habit of eating snakes, as they prefer digging for worms and grubs. But if they can’t get anything better, or if they are able to easily kill a snake, they will eat it.
Armadillos may also eat snakes that they find already dead, as well as the grubs and maggots that tend to infest dead animals.
Do Armadillos Eat Ants?
Yes, armadillo will eat all different kinds of ants just as they will eat most other types of insects. Though it would seem that ants are not one of their favorite foods.
When attempting to eat ants, armadillos may dig into ant hills, greatly disturbing the entire ant colony in the process. They may end up with ants crawling all over them.
If you’ve ever seen an armadillo rolling around in the dirt, it may be in an effort to remove the ants from their paws and scales.
So yes, armadillos will eat ants, but they tend to prefer other insects that are less irritating to them.
Armadillos have a very broad diet. Though their favorite foods are worms and other types of insects, they will also eat a wide variety of other small animals and plant materials. If you’re looking for more information about these lovely creatures, here is our guide on how they protect themselves.