Armadillos are solitary, nocturnal omnivores. They spend the day in self-dug burrows or brushy areas, emerging at dusk to forage. Coastal populations may be more crepuscular or diurnal to avoid hot inland daytime temperatures.
Armadillos shuffle along slowly while foraging but can sprint, jump, and swim when startled. Their armor helps defend against predators like bobcats, coyotes, and free-roaming dogs. If threatened, armadillos may react by leaping straight into the air, grunting loudly, or shuffling away rapidly.
Nine-banded armadillos marking and burrowing habits can damage lawns, gardens, tree roots, and building foundations. Their constant rooting for grubs and insects aerates and disturbs soil. Burrows are used for sleeping, rearing young, and escape from extreme heat or cold.