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Armadillo burrows under couple's shed

Couple seeks trapper’s assistance

Staff writer

An armored lodger recently took refuge behind the home of Marion couple Dwight and Jane Gooding.

About two weeks ago, Dwight noticed an armadillo in their backyard when he pulled into their driveway at evening time.

“It was out in the yard there, I think it might have been digging for grub worms,” Dwight said. “I got Jane and we went to go have a look at it. When he noticed us, he started running toward our garden shed. He’s got a burrow down underneath there.”

Dwight snapped a couple photos of the creature with his phone before it disappeared, while Jane stood back and watched.

“It was pretty unusual thing to see out in the yard,” Jane said.

Dwight has seen live armadillos while trucking in states south of Kansas. However, Jane said it was the first time she had seen a wild armadillo.

“I’ve seen them smashed on the side of the road in Oklahoma, Texas, and even a few in Kansas, but I’ve always wanted to see a live one,” Jane said. “I never thought I’d see one in my backyard.”

Even shining a flashlight into its burrow, the Goodings have not seen the armadillo since that day, but they have noticed evidence it is still at large.

“It looks like he’s been digging around for insects in the yard,” Jane said. “Other than that, he hasn’t caused any problems and he hasn’t bothered anything.”

The Goodings are used to wildlife making appearances in their yard. They live near the courthouse and their backyard borders Mud Creek, which likely draws beasts of hoof and claw to drink.

“We’ve had a lot of deer go through our yard,” Dwight said, “some woodchucks, too.”

Jane said a family of red foxes also took up residence in their backyard several years ago. They enjoyed watching the pups play in the yard, but the couple wants to get rid of the armadillo.

“We’re not sure if it’s still under there because we’ve been out in the yard with the dogs but we don’t want a whole family of armadillos moving in,” Jane said.

Dwight went online to learn more about armadillos.

“They’ll dig little holes all over your lawn,” Dwight said. “I also found out armadillos can carry leprosy.”

It is unknown if the Gooding’s armadillo is a nine-banded armadillo, which media reports verified are native to Kansas, and the only animal besides humans known to carry leprosy bacillus.

According to reports, the risk of transmission to humans is very low. However, the disease can be transmitted to people when armadillos are handled or eaten.

Jane said they contacted Marion Police Department, who referred them to Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, which had not gotten back to the Goodings as of press time.

“If it’s still there, we’d like to get someone down here to help us trap it,” Dwight said. “The only alternative is to shoot it, but we can’t do that. We live in city limits.”

Last modified Nov. 17, 2015

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