How To Get Rid of Armadillos

By: Contributors  | 
An armadillo walking on grass in a park.
Keeping an Armadillo in your house or compound can lead to disastrous outcomes. Putt Sakdhnagool / Getty Images

Armadillos, with their unique armor and burrowing habits, can be intriguing creatures. However, when they start invading your property, it's important to know how to get rid of armadillos effectively and humanely. These nocturnal mammals can wreak havoc in gardens, lawns, and even under your house, making it crucial to address an armadillo infestation promptly.

This article provides comprehensive strategies, from prevention to trapping, ensuring that your encounter with these wild animals is short-lived. Whether you're dealing with a lone armadillo or suspect armadillos are making a home in your yard, these tips will guide you through the process.


Understanding Armadillos

Before diving into removal tactics, it's essential to understand what armadillos prefer and why they might be attracted to your property. The nine-banded armadillo, the only species found in the southern United States, primarily feeds on insects and small invertebrates. They're drawn to moist soil, which makes flower beds and vegetable gardens prime targets. Recognizing these preferences can help you effectively deter these creatures.


Prevention: Secure Your Yard

Prevention is the first step in ensuring armadillos don't invade your space. Armadillos dig in search of food, so maintaining a tidy yard is crucial. Keep tall grass trimmed and remove bushy plants where armadillos might find shelter or food. Ensuring that your yard is less attractive to armadillos is a proactive way to avoid an infestation.


Deterrents: Make Your Property Uninviting

There are various ways to deter armadillos from your property. One effective method is to use repellents. The goal of armadillo repellents is to emit a smell or taste that is unpleasant to these animals. Many people think that moth balls will deter armadillos but this is a common myth. They don't work and they're bad for the environment. Instead, you should use castor oil repellent to help prevent them from digging for food on your property. Remember, the goal is not to harm the animal but to make your property unappealing to armadillos.


Fencing: A Physical Barrier

Installing a sturdy fence can physically block armadillos from entering your property. The fence should be buried at least a foot underground and extend a few inches above the ground, as armadillos are adept at digging. Pay special attention to the fence line, ensuring there are no gaps for these creatures to squeeze through.


Remove Attractants: Eliminate Food Sources

Armadillos are primarily attracted to areas with abundant food. Removing their food sources is a key step in making your property less inviting. This includes eradicating insects and other insects that armadillos eat. Regular pest control can significantly reduce the likelihood of an armadillo infestation.


Water Control: Reduce Moisture

Armadillos are attracted to moist environments. By controlling water in your yard, you can discourage armadillos from burrowing. Fix any leaks in your irrigation system and avoid over-watering your lawn or garden. Reducing moisture can make the environment less appealing to armadillos, especially in their burrows.


Landscaping: Design Against Armadillos

Modify your landscaping to naturally deter armadillos. Avoid creating environments that armadillos find hospitable, like heavy mulch beds or areas with dense ground cover. Opt for designs that discourage digging and burrowing, such as rock gardens or gravel paths.


Armadillo Behavior: Understanding Their Habits

Learning about armadillo behavior can aid in effective removal. Armadillos have a pointed snout and strong legs, which they use for digging. They're mostly active at night, so this is the best time to set up traps or look for signs of activity.


Trapping: Humane Capture

Live trapping is a humane way to capture and relocate armadillos. However, be sure to review your state laws before trapping an armadillo. Armadillo traps should be placed near the burrows or paths where these animals are frequently observed. Baiting the trap with fruits or earthworms can lure them in, but often, the placement of the trap alone, near the armadillo burrows, is sufficient. Ensure the trap opening is large enough for the armadillo to enter comfortably.


Natural Predators: A Biological Solution

Introducing natural predators can be an effective long-term solution to armadillo problems. Dogs, for example, can deter armadillos. However, this method should be used cautiously and in a way that does not harm the armadillos or disrupt the local ecosystem.

Professional Help: When to Call Experts

If your armadillo problem persists or if you're dealing with a significant armadillo infestation, it's wise to contact animal control or a professional wildlife removal service. Professionals have the expertise and equipment to handle armadillos safely and effectively. They can also provide tailored solutions for your specific situation.

Legal Considerations: Know the Law

It's important to understand local wildlife laws before attempting to trap or relocate armadillos. In some areas, armadillos are protected, and specific regulations must be followed. Always check with local wildlife authorities to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

Dealing with armadillos requires a combination of preventive measures, deterrents, and humane trapping methods. By understanding what attracts armadillos, such as their food sources and preferred environments, and taking proactive steps to make your property less inviting, you can effectively manage an armadillo problem. Remember, if the situation becomes too challenging, don't hesitate to seek professional help. With the right approach, you can keep your property armadillo-free and avoid the damage these curious creatures can cause.

This article was updated in conjunction with AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.