6 Ways to Get Rid of Armadillos in Your Yard

close-up of an armadillo in grass

You might have an armadillo problem if you notice random holes scattered around your property. Though small and harmless, armadillos can wreak serious havoc across your landscape. 

To stop the damage to your lawn and home’s foundation, we provide 6 ways to get rid of armadillos and restore your property to its former glory.

What are armadillos?

Armadillos are barrel-shaped, grayish-brown animals with a tough outer shell shielding their entire bodies. This protective armor is made of overlapping plates and can be any shade of brown. Armadillos have a pointed snout, short legs, and tiny black eyes. The most common type (nine-banded armadillo) ranges in length from 25 to 45 inches — about the size of a large house cat. 

When it comes to hunting, armadillos aren’t reliable. Due to their weak teeth, they can’t capture prey; they can dig for food with their strong claws and grind it down for ingestion.

6 ways to get rid of armadillos in your yard

There’s no universal solution for getting rid of armadillos. Nevertheless, these 6 methods have proven more reliable than others at preventing an armadillo invasion.

1. Eliminate their food source

person pruning small bush branches using pruning snips
Photo Credit: Unsplash

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 less appealing by trimming and pruning your landscaping, thus reducing the chances of insects hiding in your bushes and attracting armadillos.

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. In terms of 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. Get rid of potential hiding places

Mother with kids cleaning the yard
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Armadillos don’t just rely on their armor; they like extra coverage while burrowing. Shrubs, bushy trees, rock piles, and debris provide a layer of protection from predators while armadillos have their backs turned. Some wild animals known to prey on armadillos include:

  • Bobcats
  • Coyotes
  • Foxes
  • Raccoons
  • Cougars
  • Black bears

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

3. Install in-ground fencing

While clearing your landscape of armadillos’ food sources and shelter is a good start, you may need to do more. A wire in-ground fence (extending underground) is an excellent physical barrier to armadillos moving under the surface. 

If you can’t install fencing along the whole perimeter of your property, covering the area around your flower beds and vegetable gardens should be sufficient for armadillo control. They’ll stop coming to your yard without access to their favorite foods.

Since armadillos like to dig, your in-ground fencing should extend at least 18 inches into the ground. On the surface, it should be at least a foot high and bend outward in an L shape (or 40-degree angle) to effectively deter the armadillos. Remember that these animals are crafty, and a fence is no guarantee it will keep the armadillos out.

4. Install electric fencing

Electric fence with a warning sign
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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. 

Nevertheless, the electric wire setup for your yard will largely depend on your needs, your budget, and property characteristics (size, soil type, moisture, terrain, etc.). For a personalized solution, speak to a professional about your plans. Keep in mind that electric wires aren’t safe in areas where children or pets play. 

5. Consider live trapping

Animal traps
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Baiting and trapping is one of the most effective ways to eliminate these critters, though it’s not 100% effective. In some instances, trapping can prove impossible and nerve-wracking.

Pet stores or online websites sell armadillo baits such as:

  • Pond worms (Lumbricus terrestris)
  • Wigglers (Pheretima hawayanus)
  • Crickets (Acheta domesticus)
  • Red worms (Eisenia hortenis)
  • Millipedes (Dipolopda)

Alternatively, you can give the following household foods a try:

  • Peanut butter
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Avocados

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 10x10x32 inches work well as armadillo traps. Choose one that opens at both ends and has “wings” (1×4-inch or 1×6-inch boards about 6 feet long that funnel the animal inside). 

Check your state wildlife laws for protocols regarding catching and releasing an armadillo. Better yet, consider contacting your local wildlife removal agency for safe relocation. 

6. Employ regular pest control

Pest control man giving a thumbs up
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Getting rid of your current armadillo problem doesn’t mean you’ll never have one again in the future. Keeping your yard permanently free of armadillos requires regular property inspections and active pest control (the steps outlined above) – even if that means paying a professional company to do it for you.

Signs you have an armadillo problem

If you suspect armadillos have taken over your yard, identify them before taking any removal or prevention steps. Take a walk around your home and inspect your landscape for the telltale signs of armadillo damage. These include:

  • Long snout prints in your soil
  • Holes in your lawn around 4-5 inches wide and 2-3 inches deep
  • Burrows around your home’s perimeter
  • A fishy, unpleasant smell in your yard, a result of armadillos marking their territory, or being excited or scared
  • Uprooted flowers
  • Damaged underground pipe and wire systems
  • Broken driveways, walkways, or pools

If you see mounds next to the holes, you may be dealing with gophers, moles, or the well-known woodchucks. 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. On the other hand, moles and pocket gophers live in the eastern states and southern Great Plains.

What attracts armadillos to your yard?

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

Armadillos also seek humidity and cozy places to hide. 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. It’s recommended that you water your soil early in the day to allow plenty of time for the sun to dry it out and make it harder to dig.

FAQ about getting rid of armadillos in your yard

Are armadillos dangerous?

Armadillos aren’t dangerous animals. However, be careful when trying to capture an armadillo, as it will struggle and possibly injure you with its sharp claws. 

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

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.

Why do armadillos burrow?

Armadillo burrows provide shelter from the weather, protection from predators, a place to raise young, and access to tasty snacks such as roots. Since they don’t store large amounts of food in their burrows, they must forage topside relatively often – preferably when temperatures are lower.

Can light be used to deter armadillos?

Armadillos are nocturnal mammals, which means they like the dark. If you’re worried armadillos have become attracted to your yard, you can install bright lights or motion-activated lights in several key locations to deter them.

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.

When to call a pest control pro

If you’ve identified an armadillo problem, it’s time to take action. Don’t want to tackle a wild animal problem on your own? No problem. A local pest control company can design a plan to suit your needs and budget, all so you can spend a relaxing time outdoors again.

And just in case you also require lawn maintenance or general landscaping to repair your lawn after you get rid of the armadillos, lawn care professionals near you can handle the job from start to finish.

Main Photo Credit: Pixabay

Andie Ioó

In my free time, I enjoy traveling with my husband, sports, trying out new recipes, reading, and watching reruns of '90s TV shows. As a way to relax and decompress, I enjoy landscaping around my little yard and DIY home projects.