Armadillos, with their unique armor-like shells and nocturnal habits, are fascinating creatures. However, for many homeowners, their presence signals trouble. These critters are primarily drawn to yards in search of insects and grubs, their primary food source, leading them to dig holes and upturn large sections of gardens and lawns. As they forage and burrow, armadillos can cause significant damage, disrupting the aesthetic appeal of landscapes and posing threats to plant roots. Beyond the visible turf turmoil, it’s crucial to manage and mitigate armadillo intrusions. While they may seem harmless, armadillos are known carriers of the bacterium that causes leprosy, making their close proximity to human dwellings a potential health concern. Addressing armadillo activity in one’s yard is not just about maintaining its beauty, but also about ensuring the safety and health of the home’s inhabitants.

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Understanding Armadillo Behavior

Reasons Armadillos Dig Up Yards

Searching for Food 

Armadillos primarily feed on insects, worms, and other invertebrates residing in the soil. Their favorite meals include beetles, ants, termites, and earthworms. When armadillos dig, they’re predominantly foraging for these small critters. One can decrease the insect allure in their yard by using products such as “Beneficial Nematodes” by Nature’s Good Guys. A pack that covers up to 3,000 sq.ft. is priced around $13, providing a natural solution to lessen the insect population and thus, the armadillo attraction.

Nesting and Shelter

Armadillos have a natural inclination to burrow. Their digging serves purposes beyond food; they also carve out spaces for shelter and nesting. A typical armadillo burrow can range from 1 to 3 feet deep, offering them a refuge from predators and adverse weather. If homeowners notice signs of burrowing, they can deter further digging by promptly filling in these spaces. Using products like “Quikrete Fast Setting Concrete Mix”, available for roughly $5 for a 50lb bag, ensures that these burrows are sealed effectively.

Key Point

By employing a combination of natural deterrents, physical barriers, and community cooperation, homeowners can effectively reduce armadillo intrusions, a concern is given that a single armadillo can dig up to 90 burrows in different locations throughout its territory.

Signs of Armadillo Damage in Gardens or Lawns

Armadillo-induced damage presents itself distinctively. The yard may exhibit numerous small holes, approximately 1-3 inches deep and 3-5 inches wide, signifying the armadillo’s foraging patterns. In more pronounced cases, the entrance of tunnels, roughly 7-8 inches in diameter, might be apparent, indicating a resident armadillo. The lawn could also have areas that seem tilled or upturned, revealing places where armadillos have been hunting. Furthermore, the health of plants may be compromised, with evident signs of damage, particularly to their roots.

Seasonal and Weather Effects on Armadillo Activity

The seasons and prevailing weather conditions considerably influence armadillo behavior. In areas with warmer climates, armadillos maintain a year-round presence. However, in regions with cooler temperatures, their activity amplifies during the spring and summer. Post rain showers, when the earth is malleable, armadillos are notably active. The softened ground facilitates easier digging, and insects are more accessible as they ascend to the surface. Conversely, during extended droughts or intensely cold spells, their activity wanes since the hardened earth becomes less accommodating for digging, and insects are less abundant.

Natural and Non-invasive Deterrents

Learn about using plants, natural predators, scents, and innovative devices like motion-activated sprinklers to deter armadillos naturally.

Plants That Deter Armadillos

While armadillos predominantly feed on insects, certain plants can act as deterrents either due to their texture or scent. Marigolds, for example, have a strong aroma that is believed to repel various pests, including armadillos. A pack of “Burpee’s Marigold Seeds” costs around $5 and can cover a medium-sized garden. Another deterrent is the prickly texture of plants like agave or rose bushes. Planting these around the borders of a yard can create a natural barrier against armadillos.

Natural Predators and Their Role in Controlling Armadillo Populations

Animals such as coyotes, bobcats, and large birds of prey are known predators of armadillos. In regions where these predators are present, armadillo populations tend to be naturally controlled. However, it’s worth noting that introducing predators to a yard to control armadillos might not be the best solution, as these predators can bring their own set of challenges. Owning dogs can also deter armadillos, as their presence and scent can make armadillos think twice before entering a yard.

Natural Scents or Foods That Might Attract Armadillos and Alternatives:

Armadillos are mainly attracted to the scent of their prey, which includes insects and grubs. Products like “Milky Spore”, which costs about $40 for a 20-pound bag, can be spread on the lawn to reduce grub populations, thus making it less attractive to armadillos. Overripe fruit fallen from trees can also lure armadillos. Keeping the garden clean and free from such fallen fruits or organic compost can discourage their presence. For those who compost, enclosed compost bins, such as the “Envirocycle Composter”, priced at $260, can prevent the aroma of decomposing food from spreading and attracting pests.

The Efficacy of Motion-Activated Sprinklers and Lights as Deterrents

One of the most effective non-invasive methods to deter armadillos is using motion-activated sprinklers. The sudden burst of water not only scares them but also makes the area less desirable for digging. The “Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler” is a popular choice among homeowners, available for around $70. Similarly, motion-activated lights, such as the “LITOM Solar Motion Sensor Light” priced at $40 for a pack of four, can startle and deter armadillos during their nocturnal activities, making them think twice before returning.

Physical Barriers and Alterations

Understand how fences, modifications to yard habitats, and soil amendments can act as effective physical deterrents against armadillo intrusions.

The Role and Effectiveness of Fences

Fencing remains one of the most reliable physical deterrents against armadillos. A properly designed and installed fence can prevent them from entering your property, ensuring the safety of your garden and yard.

Suitable Fence Designs and Materials

Armadillos are adept diggers, so a fence that merely stands above the ground isn’t enough. Fences should be buried at least 18 inches below the ground to prevent armadillos from burrowing underneath. Chicken wire or hardware cloth are common materials used due to their durability and affordability. The “YARDGARD Chicken Wire Fence”, priced at around $30 for a 50-foot roll, is particularly effective. It’s crucial that the fence is also about 24 inches above the ground, as armadillos might attempt to climb over shorter structures. Some homeowners opt for electric fences, like the “Patriot PE2 Electric Fence Energizer”, available for around $30, to give a mild shock to any armadillo trying to breach the perimeter, further dissuading them from future attempts.

Modifying Yard Habitat to Make It Unattractive to Armadillos

A well-maintained yard is less likely to invite armadillos. Regularly mowing the lawn, keeping it free from debris, and removing any brush or thickets can make the yard less inviting to armadillos. Tall grasses and weeds can harbor insects, a primary food source for armadillos. By minimizing these, you’ll be cutting off their food supply. Installing barriers around gardens, flower beds, or specific areas of your yard using the “Dimex EasyFlex No-Dig Landscape Edging Kit”, priced at around $50 for 100 feet, can provide an additional line of defense.

Soil Type and Its Attraction to Armadillos

Sandy or loamy soils are particularly attractive to armadillos due to their ease of digging. Such soil types also tend to harbor a more extensive range of insects. To make your yard less appealing, consider amending your soil with coarse materials, making it harder for armadillos to dig. Adding a layer of gravel or small stones beneath the soil surface, especially around the perimeter, can deter armadillos. Products like “Quikrete All-Purpose Gravel”, available for about $5 for a 50lb bag, can be mixed into the existing yard soil. Alternatively, planting ground covers like mondo grass or thick-rooted plants can also create a natural barrier against armadillo digging.

Commercial Solutions and Innovations

Discover the range of commercial repellents, electronic devices, and professional services available for tackling armadillo problems effectively.

Available Repellents for Armadillos

The market is brimming with repellents tailored for armadillos, primarily utilizing unpleasant odors or tastes to ward off these creatures. “Bonide (BND2362) – Repels-All Animal Repellent” is a notable example. Retailing at roughly $20 for a 3-pound canister, this granular-based repellent combines a medley of natural ingredients. It’s designed to deter not only armadillos but also a wide array of garden pests. Another noteworthy contender in the repellent category is the “Liquid Fence Armadillo Repellent Concentrate”, priced approximately at $25 for a 32oz bottle. This concentrated solution can cover a large area, offering protection against these persistent diggers. To maximize their effectiveness, these repellents require diligent application, especially post-rain or after watering the garden, as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Advancements in Electronic or Ultrasonic Deterrents

Modern technology offers ultrasonic repellents as a cutting-edge solution against pests. These devices, like the “Bird-X Transonic Pro Electronic Pest Repeller” available at around $45, unleash sound frequencies typically inaudible to human ears but disturbing for armadillos. The idea is simple: create an intolerable acoustic environment for the pests, pushing them to seek quieter grounds. While the theoretical basis is sound, practical results can be mixed. Some homeowners vouch for the efficacy of these devices, narrating successful eviction stories of armadillos. Yet, others find them falling short of promises. For best results, pairing ultrasonic repellents with traditional measures, such as fencing or granular repellents, is often recommended.

Expertise from Professional Services in Armadillo Management

For those overwhelmed by armadillo invasions, professional intervention can be a saving grace. Established entities like “Orkin” and “Critter Control” provide specialized services tailored for armadillo-related issues. Their approach is comprehensive: a detailed inspection of the property identifies vulnerable spots, followed by bespoke solutions ranging from traps to preventive strategies. But expertise comes at a cost. Initial consultations can set one back by at least $100. Depending on the scale of the problem and the measures required, intervention costs can spiral between $250 to $500 or even higher. Given the investment, homeowners are advised to obtain detailed quotations, ensuring transparency about the services offered, before green-lighting any professional intervention.

Learn about safe trapping methods, legal aspects, and the potential dangers of using pesticides or poisons for armadillo control.

Safe and Humane Traps for Armadillos

When dealing with armadillos, using a live trap is often recommended for its humane approach. “Havahart” is a renowned brand specializing in live animal traps and offers a size suitable for armadillos: the “Havahart Large 1-Door Collapsible Easy Set Live Animal Cage Trap”, priced at around $70. These traps are built with the animal’s safety in mind, ensuring they are caught without injury. When baiting a trap for armadillos, it’s best to use overripe fruit or earthworms, but positioning the trap near their burrow or path can also be effective even without bait.

Legal Implications of Trapping and Relocating Armadillos

The legalities of trapping and relocating armadillos vary by state and even local municipalities. In many places, while trapping may be allowed, relocation or release of the animal in a different area may be prohibited to prevent the spread of disease or disturbance to native wildlife populations. For example, some states require a permit or license to trap and relocate armadillos. Before implementing trapping as a solution, it’s imperative to check with local wildlife agencies or animal control departments for guidance. Fines for illegal trapping or relocation can range from $50 to several hundred dollars, depending on the jurisdiction.

Potential Dangers of Using Pesticides or Poisons for Armadillo Control

Using pesticides or poisons to control armadillos is not recommended due to the potential dangers they present. First, there’s a risk of non-target animals consuming the poison, leading to unintentional harm or death of pets or other wildlife. Brands like “RatX” or “Tomcat” that might be effective for rodents may inadvertently harm other animals if consumed. Furthermore, poisons can enter the food chain, leading to secondary poisoning of predators who might consume poisoned armadillos. Beyond the ecological risks, many pesticides can pose threats to humans, especially children, if they come into contact with them. Additionally, dead armadillos poisoned by these chemicals can be a source of disease spread if other animals or water sources become contaminated. Financially, using unauthorized chemicals for pests can result in hefty fines, adding to the reasons it’s best to avoid this method for armadillo control.

Pets as a Deterrent

Understand how dogs and other pets can contribute to deterring armadillos and how these creatures react to human and pet presence.

The Role of Dogs and Other Pets in Warding Off Armadillos

Dogs, with their territorial nature, can be effective deterrents for armadillos. The presence of a dog, particularly larger breeds, can dissuade armadillos from venturing too close to a property. Their scent, the noises they make, and their general activity can make an environment less inviting to these burrowing animals. Moreover, a dog’s routine of marking territory can also serve as a deterrent, as armadillos might perceive this as a sign of a dominant animal’s presence and choose to stay away. However, it’s essential to note that not all dogs will naturally chase or deter armadillos, and some may even be indifferent. While cats and other pets might not be as active in chasing away armadillos, their mere presence and the scents they leave behind can still make a difference in making the yard less attractive to these creatures.

Armadillos’ Response to Human and Pet Presence

Armadillos are naturally nocturnal and are generally wary of larger animals and humans. Their primary defense mechanism is to dig or burrow quickly, but when confronted unexpectedly, they might jump vertically as a startled reaction. This behavior is why some drivers find armadillos unexpectedly leaping into the air when they approach them on roads at night. While they have poor eyesight, their sense of smell is sharp. Thus, the scents of humans and especially pets can be a deterrent. However, if an armadillo has established a burrow or has found a consistent food source in a yard, they might be more persistent and less easily deterred, even with the regular presence of humans and pets.

Community Measures and Awareness

Explore signs of increasing armadillo populations, community initiatives, and the significance of regular yard inspections for controlling armadillo activity.

Signs of a Rising Armadillo Population

A growing armadillo population in a community is typically marked by multiple signs. Residents may notice more frequent sightings of these creatures, especially during the evening or at night, given their nocturnal nature. Increased reports of dug-up gardens, lawns with numerous holes, or damaged landscapes can be strong indicators. Additionally, the discovery of armadillo burrows, which can be around 7-8 inches in diameter and lead to underground tunnels, is a direct sign of their presence. A surge in roadkill instances involving armadillos can also be an unfortunate indication of their growing numbers in an area.

Unified Efforts: Community Initiatives to Control Armadillo Intrusions

Tackling the challenge of armadillo incursions often requires a collective effort, leveraging the strength and resources of entire communities. Local neighborhood associations, in collaboration with wildlife organizations like the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) or the Humane Society, can embark on educational campaigns, enlightening residents on the habits, and tendencies of armadillos, and their attraction to urban landscapes. This collective wisdom not only provides insights into armadillo behavior but also disseminates effective preventative techniques among community members.

Furthermore, pooling resources becomes a feasible strategy. Communities can jointly invite wildlife experts or ecologists, possibly from local universities or the Department of Wildlife, for workshops or seminars that provide in-depth guidance on armadillo management. Such initiatives can also pave the way for partnerships with professional wildlife control firms, ensuring effective and humane strategies for armadillo deterrence.

Joint endeavors, like procuring repellents in bulk or embarking on community-wide fencing or habitat modification projects, offer a dual benefit: they make interventions more economical for individual households while simultaneously ensuring that the neighborhood presents a united front against armadillo intrusions.

The Importance of Regular Yard Inspections

Frequent yard checks are crucial in detecting early signs of armadillo presence and preventing significant damage. Residents should be encouraged to conduct bi-weekly or monthly inspections, especially during seasons when armadillo activity peaks. These checks should focus on identifying new holes, signs of digging, or any evidence of burrowing. Early detection allows for timely intervention, whether through DIY methods or by seeking professional assistance, ensuring that armadillo activity is nipped in the bud. In areas with a known armadillo presence, more frequent inspections, possibly weekly, can be beneficial.


In the quest to safeguard our yards and gardens from armadillo intrusions, it’s evident that a myriad of methods, both natural and commercial, are available to homeowners. From understanding the behavior of armadillos and using natural deterrents to leveraging modern commercial innovations, each approach has its merits. Yet, amidst all strategies, it’s paramount to emphasize the importance of humane treatments. As with all wildlife, armadillos play a role in our ecosystem, and our efforts should focus on deterring and relocating rather than causing harm. Community cooperation stands out as a potent tool in this endeavor. By pooling knowledge, resources, and efforts, neighborhoods can amplify their defensive measures against these burrowing creatures. Sharing experiences and solutions can lead to more effective and efficient strategies for all. The battle against armadillo invasions is undoubtedly more manageable when tackled together, with respect for the animals and a shared goal of protecting our cherished outdoor spaces.

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