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San Antonio man's backyard invaded by roll of adorable armadillos

Chron logo Chron 1 day ago Sarah Martinez
a bird that is standing in the grass © Scott Walters

There are lots of surprises that come with the responsibility of being a homeowner – and some surprises are more adorable than others.

One local homeowner, Scott Walters, was somewhat surprised to see a pack of young armadillos tearing up his backyard earlier this month, though he wasn’t all too bothered.

“I like to share my yard with the local critters,” Walters wrote on NextDoor, alerting his neighbors in the Deerfield neighborhood of the “Armadillo Party” in his backyard. “They were here first after all.”

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Walters tells MySA.com that he put two and two together, realizing that the young armadillos were extremely local (they are Texas's state small mammal as of 1995, after all). His backyard, which he says is long and deep, shares a fence with five of his neighbors, one of which recently had a litter of four armadillos born underneath their deck. Walters says a few of his other neighbors have also seen the armadillos, but he got close enough to catch the critters in the act.

“They were just digging away to their little hearts’ content,” Walters jokes.

While he says another neighbor with a pristine yard very quickly shooed away the mammals, Walters has taken a different approach to the armadillo invasion.

“I sort of let nature take its course. I could cover up the holes as they dig them, but once it rains it kind of fills the hole in a little bit,” Walters tells MySA.com. “My backyard is not nicely manicured, so I’m not too worried about it.”

The nature aspect of the neighborhood is part of the reason why Walters and his wife Laurie bought the home about 2 years ago. With a backyard with plenty of room for extra guests, Walters says he’s made a bit of a game out of the armadillo sightings with his 8-year-old daughter, Abigail.

“We see them usually every day,” Walters explains. He says this allows him to ask Abigail how many armadillos she’s seen and where in the yard each day.

“They’re still coming around. They’re still doing well,” he clarifies. “When it’s one by himself or herself, they seem to be a little skittish, but when they’re all together not so much.”

Aside from the roll of armadillos, which Walters says are close to full grown now due to eating well, the family has seen foxes, opossums, and even hawks on occasion. They have also seen a pair of great horned owls, which Walters jokes were like a husband and wife that hooted at each other very loudly.

Though other locals may not be as enthusiastic about animals and nature as he is, Walters feels it is important to keep their distance from the armadillos should they encounter some in their own neighborhood.

“The first time I saw the armadillos, I walked up to them and I petted them,” Walters admits, saying the critters were younger and very docile. “They’re not terribly cuddly.”

Though he couldn’t help himself, Walters advises other locals from making that same mistake.

“They’re cute and ugly at the same time, I think more cute than ugly,” Walters says. “They do carry leprosy and Hanson’s disease. If you do come into contact with one, you may want to wash your hands afterward.”

You heard it here first from the armadillo whisperer, San Antonio.

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