5 Ways to Get Rid of Armadillos in Your Yard

close-up of an armadillo in grass

If you’ve got unwelcome roommates digging holes beneath your backyard, you might have an armadillo issue. Stop the damage to your lawn and home’s foundation at the source with our ways to get rid of armadillos. 

5 methods for armadillo control

1. Get rid of their food source

An armadillo’s idea of a 5-star meal is a main course of termites, grubs, and other insects with a side of fruits and veggies. You can make your yard a little less appealing by minimizing their food sources.

Ridding your yard of all insects isn’t productive (or even possible). However, shrubs, bushes, and tall grass signal food to armadillos because they often house insects. Minimizing these means the armadillos have less reason to come sniffing around your yard. If you don’t want to remove your shrubs and bushes, prune them regularly so they don’t become overgrown. 

For the insects themselves, you can use a broad-spectrum insecticide for across-the-board control or eco-friendly beneficial nematodes to get rid of grubs. 

If you have any fruit trees, pick up fallen fruit as soon as you can. Wire mesh covers for your vegetable garden and flower beds also block the armadillos’ access to food sources. 

2. Eliminate hiding places

Armadillos don’t just rely on their armor — they like to have extra coverage while burrowing. Shrubs, bushy trees, rock piles, and debris provide a layer of protection from predators while armadillos have their backs turned. 

You can replace large, bushy plants with low-lying ground cover or gravel to give armadillos fewer hiding spots in your yard. Keep bushes neatly trimmed and clear fallen leaves and branches out regularly. 

3. In-ground fencing

While clearing your landscape of armadillos’ food sources and shelter is a good start, you might need more intensive measures. An in-ground fence (a fence that extends underground) provides a physical barrier under the surface to advancing armadillos. In-ground fences for pests are usually made from wire.

If you can’t install fencing along the whole perimeter of your property, installing fencing around your flower beds and vegetable gardens is sufficient for armadillo control. When they realize they can’t get to the food source they’re looking for, they’ll stop coming to your yard.

Because armadillos dig, the in-ground fencing needs to be deep. The fence should extend at least 18 inches into the ground. A 40-degree slant outward below ground will further deter the creatures from burrowing underneath. Make sure it’s at least a foot high to stop them from climbing over it. 

4. Electric fencing

If you don’t want to worry about armadillos climbing over the brand-new fence you installed, try adding an electric wire. A single strand 3 to 4 inches high, a foot out from your fence, and supported by stakes should be enough to deter the creatures. Keep in mind, these aren’t safe for areas where children or pets play. 

5. Live trapping

Baiting and trapping is one of the most effective ways to get rid of armadillos. 

The most effective armadillo baits are:

  • Pond worms
  • Wigglers
  • Crickets
  • Red worms

You can get these at a pet store or online.

Armadillos can’t recognize food from far away, so you need to place the bait and trap in an area they’re likely to frequent. That includes active burrows and brush. 

Cage traps that are 10-by-10-by-32-inches work well as armadillo traps. Choose one that opens at both ends and has “wings” (1-by-4-inch or 1-by-6-inch boards about 6 feet long that funnel the animal inside). 

Check your state wildlife laws to find out if it’s legal to catch and release an armadillo where you live. If you catch one, it’s a better idea to call your local wildlife removal organization to relocate the critter. Armadillos can do damage with their sharp claws when provoked.

How to know you have an armadillo problem

Be sure you have an armadillo visiting your yard before you take steps to treat one. Take a walk around your home and inspect your landscape for the telltale signs of armadillo damage. 

Signs of armadillos:

  • Uprooted plants
  • Damaged pipes or wires
  • Cracks in sidewalks or driveways
  • Shallow holes throughout the lawn that are 3-5 inches wide and 1-3 inches deep
  • Burrows around your home’s perimeter, especially around brush, rock piles, and stumps (these just look like holes in the ground)

If you see mounds next to the holes, you may be dealing with gophers, woodchucks, or moles. You can identify your mysterious digger based on where you live. Armadillos can be found throughout the southern United States from Texas to Florida, although a few have been found as far north as Illinois. Moles and pocket gophers, on the other hand, live in the eastern states and southern Great Plains.

What attracts armadillos to your yard?

Armadillos like places to hide and some humidity. If your property is close to a forest or woodland, you’re more likely to encounter the armored animals. Moist, porous soil can attract armadillos because it’s easier to burrow in.

Like any other animal, food is what draws armadillos to your yard. Your home might be their favorite grocery store in the area if you have a berry-producing shrub, vegetable garden, or abundance of insects.

All about armadillos

What do armadillos look like?

Armadillos are small, greyish-brown animals that have a natural armor around their exterior made of overlapping plates. They have a pointed snout, long head, short legs, and black eyes. The most common type (nine-banded armadillos) range from 25 to 45 inches long — about the size of a large house cat. 

What are armadillos’ habits? 

Armadillos like to be left alone. They’re not aggressive, but if you startle them, they might startle you back by leaping up to 4 feet in the air. They spend most of their time on their own, only meeting with others to mate or stay warm.

Armadillos have a great sense of smell which makes up for their poor eyesight. Wiry hairs along their sides and bellies also help them feel their way around.

Do armadillo repellents work?

The short answer: Probably not. Most professionals agree that repellents such as mothballs, cayenne pepper, castor oil, and ammonia won’t solve your armadillo problem.

Why do armadillos burrow? 

Armadillo burrows provide shelter from weather, safety from predators, and a place to raise young. In the winter, the diggers spend up to 65% of their time underground. Burrows also give armadillos easy access to a tasty snack: roots. 

Do armadillos carry disease?

Armadillos can pass leprosy onto humans through a scratch or bite. However, the risk is pretty low in North America. They also can carry rabies, though the likelihood is no greater than with other wild animals such as possums, rats, and rabbits. 

When to call a pest control pro

Don’t want to tackle a wild animal problem on your own? A local pest control company can design a plan to suit your needs and take care of the rest. You can rest easy knowing your yard is in a pro’s hands.

For regular lawn maintenance, fencing installation, and general landscaping help, contact a Lawn Love professional. 

Main Photo Credit: KMcCall | Pixabay

Rachel Abrams

Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, Rachel Abrams studied creative writing at the University of Virginia. She enjoys volunteering at her neighborhood community garden and growing herbs in her New York City apartment.