Armadillo Awareness

A Nine-banded armadillo in the  green swamp in Central Florida
Picture credit:


On our local ABC News this morning, came a story that sent shivers down my spine, once again.

Unless you live in the Southwest or Florida, you may have never heard of, or seen an Armadillo.

The images on TV this morning were both familiar and  disturbing, they were of Armadillos, the affected victims  along with the fact that there have been 9 new cases of Leprosy reported here in the Orlando area in just the past six months.

Normal they said, was 10 per year, so think we may be in trouble here…

I have known about this disease since 1990, when we went on Vacation to Oahu.

We had asked about going over to Molokai and several people at our Hotel said, that it once was the Island of Lepers, and we probably should not go.

Not knowing anything about the disease or the history of the Island, we decided not to go.

It seemed that at that time in 1990, the stigma had remained there, somewhat, although the disease was not officially any longer considered a threat.

In fact, it had been Globally eradicated by that time, it had been reported.

Recently I wrote about the wonderful Priest, Father Damien, who went to Molokai and devoted his life to caring for those afflicted with Leprosy before eventually succumbing to the disease:

Leprosy is transferred by bacteria, and at the present time, only two life forms carry it, Humans and Armadillos.

I learned today, that when Armadillos came to this Continent, they did not carry the disease, from which I would deduce, that we gave it to them.

We are still in the process of questioning, whether or not pets can contract the disease from being on the same land as Armadillos.

Have made calls to the CDC and several other agencies this morning, as well as to the Dr. mentioned in the story.

When conclusive feedback is received, it will be put in another posting, as I do not wish to delay this vital/critical information for those of you who are living in this area,  as we are, with Armadillos, while waiting ……


Places to learn more:



Yes, You Can Get Leprosy From an Armadillo

Floridians urged to avoid leprosy-infected armadillos

Experts warn Floridians to steer clear of armadillos to avoid leprosy exposure

Leprosy cases on rise in Florida



11 thoughts on “Armadillo Awareness

  1. I heard of leprosy in Armadillos years ago and it seemed so strange that this bacteria could affect them, too. I did a little checking on Armadillos and leprosy and prior to their arrival in Texas, which is where they first entered the US, leprosy was already present in the human population.

    Thanks for the links but a warning to any who would click on them: don’t bother reading the comments (especially the last link) unless you want to have your opinion of American intelligence further eroded.

      • I read about 5 and that was enough. The spelling alone was too much to take. But don’t feel bad we have more than our fair share of fact and logic challenged people.

        It is strange that this disease affects the Armadillos. I’m going to have to look up any reports in monkeys since we and they share a lot of similar diseases.

  2. An interesting article albeit worrying and very scary for people in Florida and I understand your concerns. I didn’t know that armadillos carry leprosy, seems odd, or that so many people still contracted this disease. If it is of any comfort according to my understanding it is curable if caught early enough.

  3. I’m glad you’re exposing this mystery, I didn’t know about it either. What appalls me is the amount of armadillos that get run over by cars. I’m not saying people do it on purpose, but please, if you see animals such as these, please slow down, give them a chance! The same happens with turtles and iguanas. Of course, properly built fences should prevent these accidents.

  4. This has always been such a sore point with me… The MIS-, or lack of information, with regards to armadillos and leprosy. YES they carry the disease. But the ONLY way to get it from them is DIRECT CONTACT with them. Honestly.

    And armadillos are VERY sweet, shy creatures. On hikes, I’ve had them literally walk across my boots! They’re (nearly) blind and sweet little things. Now, if you are picking them up and harassing them — you MAY contract leprosy. My suggestion? *** Don’t harass the wildlife! ***

    Wildlife experts have continually tried to elaborate this point. When handling armadillos, they use big gloves and explain that if you just let them be, they’re very timid creatures and will NOT bother you.

    I sure hope FLA doesn’t blow this into the same ridiculousness as they did with the disappearing black bears. Gr.

  5. I just read a dog has to literally eat an armadillo in order to contract the leprosy, and even so, the armadillo may not even have the disease in the first place.

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