How to Get Rid of Armadillos in Your Backyard

By
Phyllis McMahon
Phyllis McMahon
Research Writer
Phyllis teaches English Literature at a local college and loves writing in her free time. She’s also a great cook – her British beef Wellington is something the best res read more
reviewed
Reviewed By
Chas Kempf
Chas Kempf
Expert Consultant
Chas works in a professional pest control company and knows all the nuances of this job. Also, he’s a fantastic tennis player and loves to organize BBQ parties for his fam read more
Last updated: December 27, 2022
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If you are someone that lives in the Southwestern United States, the odds are that you have encountered an armadillo. These rugged mammals might appear cute and harmless, but they can actually cause quite a bit of damage to your yard. This is particularly true of any ornamental plants and lawns. These small critters can also be somewhat dangerous as well, as it is very easy to catch your foot in one of their holes, which could result in a broken leg. As such, you need to know how to get rid of armadillos from your property to protect your landscaping and your family’s wellbeing.

There are lots of ways that you can try to rid your property of these armored mammals. Some are quite easy and inexpensive, while others are more time-consuming and might be a bit more expensive. In this article, we will guide you through the proper methods to use for your particular armadillo issue.

Identifying Armadillos

Armadillos are a relatively easy critter to identify if you actually see them. However, there may be times when they are wreaking havoc during the nighttime, so you need to know what to look for to determine the type of animal you are dealing with. For instance, you might be dealing with a raccoon, which would mean that you need to find the best raccoon traps around rather than worrying about an armadillo. In this section, we will guide you through everything you need to know about America’s only armored mammal.

Appearance

How to Get Rid of Armadillos in Your Backyard
Armadillos look like a cross between a lizard and a dinosaur.

Though there are around twenty different armadillo types throughout the world, the only one found in the United States is the Nine-banded Armadillo. They get their names from the nine armored bands along their back. Armadillos are not overly large. In fact, they are only about the size of a house cat. Armadillos are mammals, which means that they also have hair on their bodies. Due to the armored nature of this animal, it tends to be on the heavier side, despite its small stature. Adults can range from 8 to 17 pounds, making them a hefty creature to haul around if you get them in a trap.

Behavior

Armadillos will roll up into an armored ball when threatened. Their armor-like shell protects them from most predators. Armadillos love to eat insects and other small invertebrates. While this defense mechanism works well for predators, it also leads to an inordinate number of armadillos being hit by cars on the road. To find their favorite foods, armadillos will regularly dig down into the soil. This is usually one of the biggest signs that you have an armadillo problem on your property.

Habitat

Nine-banded Armadillos are found in the Southwestern United States. While most folks associate them with dry desert areas, they can be found in a wide array of habitats. This can also include brushlands, woods, scrub, and grasslands. The habitat versatility has allowed the armadillo to spread its territory far and wide, making it a very common species in the Southwest.

Inspecting Your Property

If you have spotted armadillos on your property, then you need to start looking around for any signs of damage. Odds are they are causing an issue somewhere. As such, you need to look around your yard, especially along the perimeter of your yard. You need to focus in on areas where plants such as shrubs, bushes, trees, and flowers are growing. You also need to look around your actual home, as armadillos love to burrow under foundations as well. Look for any holes in these areas as well as any torn-up ground or turf where the armadillos were looking for insects to eat.

Treating Armadillos

There are several different ways that you can go about solving your armadillo issue. Some of these are quick and easy, while others might be a bit more time intensive and expensive. We recommend starting small and working your way through the various solutions until you find the one that works for your situation.

1. Get Rid of Food Source

The very first thing that you should try to do to eliminate your armadillo problem is to remove their food source. As we have mentioned earlier, these small mammals love to eat lots of different insects that live in the ground or around shrubby areas. If you remove these insects, either through sprays or natural means, you will remove the whole reason that the armadillos are digging on your property in the first place.

2. Eliminate Hiding Places

How to Get Rid of Armadillos in Your Backyard

If you know for a fact that you don’t have any sort of issue with insects on your property or you have gone through the process to remove them from your land, then the next thing you’ll want to do is to remove the tempting cover. This will make it much less likely that an armadillo will come onto your land simply because they like to have a place to hide. Fill in holes, remove brush and debris and make sure that any decks are fully enclosed near the ground to make your property less enticing to armadillos.

3. In-Ground Fencing

Another simple solution that you might want to give a try is in-ground fencing. If you have a garden, you can put this simple fencing around it to keep out armadillos. Of course, you need to be sure that it is something relatively substantial so that a determined critter cannot push it right over. It doesn’t need to be terribly high, however, as armadillos cannot jump too far up. You can probably get by with something between 12-24 inches in height to keep out an armadillo, no matter how determined it might be.

4. Electric Fencing

How to Get Rid of Armadillos in Your Backyard

Though you might not want to cause the armadillos any sort of harm, a simple electric fence would be a good deterrent if a standard fence isn’t doing the job. These fences are usually pretty easy to set up and run off of your home’s electrical power or a battery source. If you live in a sunny area, you might also be able to use a solar array to power your fence. These fences send out pulses of electricity that will shock anything that touches it. Thankfully, the voltage is usually very low, so the animals will not suffer any lasting damage.

5. Use Repellents

Repellants are another great way to deter armadillos from entering your property. The best we have found on the market today is Armadillo Scram Professional. This granular product is very easy to disperse and will keep armadillos away for a good long time. It will, however, need to be reapplied every once in a while, especially if you get a lot of rain in a short amount of time. If you are working with a smaller area, you might also want to try TOSS Extra Hot Red Ground Cayenne Pepper, which can be mixed into your soil to keep armadillos from digging in it.

6. Or Electronic Deterrents

How to Get Rid of Armadillos in Your Backyard

If you would like to use a deterrent to keep armadillos out of your yard and you don’t want to worry about spreading any sort of repellant, you could always go for an electronic one. These machines usually take the form of some sort of noisemaker, which plays intermittently to keep animals such as armadillos away. You might even want to check out the best ultrasonic bird repellers or best ultrasonic mouse repellers on the market, as these will usually keep away armadillos as well.

7. Or Live Trapping

If you want to get rid of armadillos in your yard and you have tried everything else, then you might want to look into live trapping them. Live traps can be used for a variety of critters, from raccoons to armadillos, so be careful that you find the right size. From there, you simply place them around your property with delicious bait and let them sit through the night. With any luck, you will be able to catch any problematic armadillos and remove them from your property in quick order. Consider checking out the best raccoon traps, as armadillos and raccoons are of the same size, so they will work on both of them.

How to Get Rid of Armadillos in Your Backyard

8. Contact Professionals

 

As is the case with many DIY projects, if all else fails, call the professionals. If you find yourself swarmed with armadillos with no end in sight, then it is time to admit defeat and call a local pet control agency. Thankfully, these agencies will have a good idea of the local lay of the land, so they can help you remove armadillos no matter if you live in Texas or Florida.

Preventing Armadillos

FAQ

What attracts armadillos to your yard?

Generally speaking, there are going to be two different things that an armadillo is going to look for if they are coming into your yard. The first, of course, is going to be their preferred food, which is insects and other invertebrates, such as worms and grubs. The second thing that they will be looking for in your yard is going to be a shelter of some kind to use as a burrow.

Do armadillos carry disease?

Armadillos, like many other animals out in nature, can carry some diseases. One of the most prevalent is Hansen’s disease, which is more commonly known as leprosy. As such, it is best not to touch an armadillo with your bare skin. If you decide to use live traps to capture them, it is best to wear long sleeves and gloves if you need to handle them at all so that you can protect yourself against the spread of disease.

When do armadillos come out?

Though it is possible to see an armadillo during the day, you are more likely to see them at night, as they are considered to be a nocturnal species.

Final Thoughts

Armadillos are generally harmless, interesting animals that live in the American Southwest. They can, however, cause extensive damage to a property in their quest for a burrow to call their own and the invertebrates they enjoy eating. As such, you need to know how to get rid of armadillos if you live in an area where they are likely to be. There are lots of ways to keep them away or remove them from your property, so be sure to find the method that will work best for your particular situation.

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