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  • Charlotte County Educational Article of the Month - Can Charlotte County armadillos transmit leprosy to people?

Can Charlotte County armadillos transmit leprosy to people?

Charlotte County armadillos are curious little creatures that are known for their armored shell. They peskiest thing about these strange looking mammals is their annoying digging habits. They can wreak havoc on gardens, flower beds, yards, and many other areas of your home.

Florida armadillos are typically found in the lower part of the United States. There is only one type of armadillo in the United States, and that is the nine-banded armadillo. They are typically greyish-brown with a more oval style body. These odd little mammals can live between 7 and ten years.

Initially, these armored menaces came from South America. However, because they are rapid reproducers, the population was forced north into the southern portions of America. They typically prefer warm and damp conditions. This makes forests ideal for them.

The sharp claws on Charlotte County armadillos allow them to not only scavenge for food such as larvae, worms, termites, ants, and snails, but they also help them dig burrows. On average, an armadillo burrow is about 8 inches wide and can be as deep as fifteen feet deep.

Armadillos, while solitary animals have been documented as carriers of the bacteria that can cause leprosy. The genetic makeup and body temperature of the little creature make it the perfect carrier. Their body temperatures make an ideal place for the bacteria to stay. Hansen’s disease—the official name for leprosy—typically affects over 250 thousand people across the globe. However, only 150-200 of those people are American.

While there have been documented cases of humans contracting Hansen’s disease from Florida armadillos, the actual risks of humans getting the disease is extremely low. Some of the only ways to contract the bacterial infection are by ingesting them or handling them. This is difficult since they typically shy away from humans.

However, if you are going to be encountering the animals, it is always better to be safe than sorry. You should never try to handle a Charlotte County armadillo on your own, but if you’ve got an emergency and it can’t be avoided, there are a few things you need to do to take precautions.

First, be sure to wear gloves. When an animal feels threatened, they will often bite or scratch to get away. These little-armored pests are no exception. Keeping your hands and arms covered will help you stay safe.

If you feel that you’ve been exposed to Hansen’s disease, then seek medical attention immediately. Thanks to technology and modern medicine, the condition is extremely treatable and easy to manage. If you suspect that you have an armadillo problem, you can call your local animal wildlife control specialist. They will send a technician out to assist you. They can safely trap and remove any little-armored suspects lingering around your home.

Visit our Charlotte County wildlife trapping home page to learn more about us.

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