Until recent years, armadillo sightings were very rare in Charleston County. The armored mammal made its first appearance in America in the late 1800s in East Texas. The species has been migrating north and east ever since.
Armadillos are burrowing animals which feed mostly on insects and grub worms. A benefit to having armadillos is that they eat fire ants. They dig 7-8 inch burrows, which can destroy lawns and flower beds. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Charles Ruth says that armadillos prefer wooded areas and this far have not represented a threat to residential areas.
Ruth says the armadillo population has leveled off in the lowcountry and that bobcats and coyotes are predators. He also cautions against touching the animals, which are known to carry the bacteria which cause leprosy.