5 Easy Steps: How to Get Rid of Armadillos from Your Backyard

Evicting armadillos from your backyard can be a frustrating task. These odd-looking animals are extremely destructive to lawns and beds and can even cause structural damage around your home or pool.

So it’s important to take urgent action to gain control of your pest problem and prevent significant armadillo damage to your property.

If you are tired of these notorious diggers destroying your yard every night, our step-by-step guide on how to get rid of armadillos will fix your problems fast! 

5 Steps To Get Rid Of Armadillos

To begin, you must first identify the pest that comes into your yard in the middle of the night. Otherwise, you run the risk of following the guidance in our article only to find it ineffective. Creatures behave in different ways so identification is critical for success.

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Step 1. Armadillo Identification

Here are some armadillo traits to help you identify these pests so we can manage the pest in an effective way:

Armadillo Origin

Armadillos originated over 3 million years ago in South America. Today, the only species found in the US is the nine-banded armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus.

They are distributed largely across the South and much of the East Coast.

Armadillo Distribution In North America

Armadillo Appearance

Armadillos are grayish-brown, barrel-shaped animals with natural armor to protect them from predators. Their armor consists of overlapping plates that extend all the way from their head to their tail. 

The average size of an armadillo ranges from 25 to 45 inches long. They are characterized by a pointed snout, a long head, four short legs, and small black eyes.

Armadillo Behavior

Armadillos are solitary animals that like to be left alone. They spend most of their lives sleeping and foraging on their own, except when breeding or caring for their young.

The armadillo’s highly developed sense of smell more than makes up for its poor eyesight. This nocturnal animal forages for food late at night by using its strong claws to dig burrows up to 15 feet long.

When startled, the nine-banded armadillo can leap vertically in the air, sometimes as high as 4 feet!

These fierce critters can tear apart large areas of the lawn and create a burrow within a single day.

Armadillos make a hideous screeching sound. So what does an armadillo sound like?

Are you wondering…do armadillos dig holes…hell yeah! Big ones.

Armadillo Habitat

Armadillos prefer warm, humid climates and thrive in forests or woodlands. They’re usually attracted to areas with light, porous soil that makes digging for dinner easier.

Once these pests start visiting your yard, they will most likely visit every night expecting to find food. Not only do they frantically dig around the property’s foundation but the mess they leave behind can be extremely inconvenient.

The average lifespan of an armadillo is 7 to 10 years. If you have them on your land, don’t think you’re going to wait for them to drop dead on their own accord. You’re going to have to take control and manage the infestation.

What Do Armadillos Eat?

Over 90% of an armadillo’s food consists of insects, termites, maggots, and other invertebrates, as well as vegetation and fruits. They are even known to eat snakes, rabbits, and dead animal carcasses.

The time armadillos feed depends on their activity level. In summer, they are active at night. In winter, they are more so active during the daytime.

Armadillo Health Risks

Armadillos are one of the only species that can spread leprosy to humans. This disease is usually passed on to people through an armadillo’s scratch or bite.

A study of Brazilian armadillos found that 62% of the population carried leprosy. However, in North America, the risk of contracting leprosy is considered low.

Rabies is another disease that can be transmitted from these pests. To put that into perspective, wild rats, possums, and rabbits also present the same risk to humans.

The feces of armadillos may contain salmonella, which affects the human gastrointestinal system and should be treated with caution.

Now that we’ve identified these pesky pests and learned more about their habits, we’re ready to move on to the next step: Location!

Step 2. Inspection of Your Property

The inspection stage requires you to take a walk around your home to locate where the armadillos are active. This will help you decide on the best treatment and assist your efforts in capturing or repelling these pests.  

The typical signs of armadillos in the yard include:

  • 3- to 5-inch-wide holes throughout the lawn with a depth of 1 to 3 inches
  • Uprooted plants
  • Burrows close to the home or underneath structures
  • Damaged wires or underground pipes
  • Cracks in driveways or sidewalks as a result of burrowing
  • Armadillo tracks in mud or dirt — look for four long-toed prints, each with a sharp claw 

Step 3. Treatment: How to Get Rid of Armadillos Successfully

Once you have pinpointed the exact locations where the armadillo is active in your yard, it is time to start treatment. Here are some highly effective and humane methods to control this pest:

How To Catch An Armadillo

Setting up a live armadillo trap is one of the best options to protect your property from these critters. This pest control method is ideal for locations difficult to reach with repellents or if you can locate the armadillo burrow. The good news is that trapping an armadillo is relatively easy thanks to their predictable habits.

Let’s learn how to catch an armadillo humanely:

To get rid of an armadillo, you will need a metal cage trap of about 30 inches in length and at least 12 inches high.

To trap the animal successfully, you must first establish the time of the day or night that the pest comes out of its burrow.

Since armadillos are nocturnal, they usually come out late at night or early in the morning. Make sure you have your traps set and baited well in advance. In winter, they tend to be active during the day rather than at night.

Some effective locations for placing a live armadillo trap include:

  • Ideally place it directly above the armadillo hole entrance, if you can locate it
  • Along the wall line or along a fence. They like to follow the property parameter
  • If you can find tracks, that’s going to be a great place to set the armadillo trap


1. Use armadillo baits for successful trapping. Armadillos love overripe fruit, cat food, or maggots. Place the bait inside the trap as far back from the entrance as possible to ensure the animal is totally enclosed.

2. Don’t forget to wear gloves when placing the armadillo baits into the trap. They have an extremely strong sense of smell and will avoid human scents.  

The idea is to make sure the armadillo bait is far enough inside the trap to activate the trigger plate.

Check the armadillo trap each morning and you will catch the little beast following these simple tactics.

Okay, success. You’ve got the critter in your cage, now what are you supposed to do with it? Simply take the cage to a nearby woodland and release it. Be sure to wear gloves to avoid bites or scratches, just as a precaution.

Lay down the armadillo trap on the ground. Open the door and allow the animal to calmly exit the cage. Relocation should be at least 10 miles away from your home to avoid repeat visitors. 

Armadillo Repellent Home Remedy 

After you have removed these notorious diggers with the help of an armadillo trap, you’ll need to keep them out by using repellents.

Since these creatures have a great sense of smell, the to answer to how to get rid of armadillos and stop them from re-entering is simply make sure your backyard stinks!

What?… Yep!

Eye-watering scents like vinegar or garlic can make these pests think twice about sniffing around your garden.

Other effective natural repellents include:

  • Mothballs placed around the perimeter fence
  • Cayenne pepper spread on the soil. This naturally occurring ingredient, capsicum, causes stomach irritation or inflammation as soon as it’s ingested by the armadillo.
  • Castor oil for spoiling the armadillo’s food sources in the soil and making the insects unpleasant to eat. This natural oil will also create an unpleasant smell inside the burrow so the armadillo won’t want to stay there too long. 

Best Armadillo Repellents

Ultrasonic armadillo repellent devices are an effective and non-invasive method. You can buy solar-powered spikes to cover large areas of up to 50 feet in radius. When used in addition to armadillo traps and cages, they will produce reliable, long-term results.

A combination of ultrasonic repellents and an armadillo trap is the most effective strategy in my experience.

While not as effective as ultrasonic repellents, motion-activated water sprinklers are also valuable tools. They will startle pests with spurts of water. You can use sprinklers to protect your plants, flowerbeds, entryways, pathways, and just about anywhere else that an armadillo can dig into.

Natural Armadillo Deterrent

We know armadillos have a fantastic sense of smell. So, if you have the stomach for it, spraying predator urine around your yard can be an effective tactic. If you’re not too keen on the smell of fox urine (I wouldn’t blame you!), a bag of dog fur or used cat litter buried into the armadillo’s burrow should do the trick. 

Step 4. Sanitize Your Yard

Now that you’ve learned how to get rid of armadillos, you’re ready to move on to the final steps to complete the job…

It’s time for the clean-up operation. You’ve taken back control of your property, but the damage still needs fixed.

Cleaning the mess left behind is one of the most important parts of the pest control process. For one, it will help prevent armadillos from returning to your yard again. They came for a reason, right? Well if that reason is still there, we can guess they’ll come back.

What do we mean when we say to sanitize your backyard?

Armadillos leave a trail of urine and feces all around your garden to mark their territory. Not great, I know, but we must also recognize that their excrement contains harmful bacteria and disease.

You wouldn’t want your children or pets to come into contact with rabies or other infectious diseases through bacterial contamination. Therefore, it’s important to sanitize the yard thoroughly as soon as you’ve evicted the unwelcome guests. 

To begin cleaning the yard, wear protective clothing and gloves. Remove all the contaminated debris and feces left behind.

Wash the yard with bleach and warm water. Once all the contaminants have been removed from your lawn, apply a disinfectant product to kill any bacteria and viruses. 

Step 5. Preventing Armadillos From Returning 

If you think that after trapping the armadillo and disinfecting your yard, this compulsive wanderer will never come back again, then you couldn’t be more wrong!

When one armadillo goes, another one can take its place. In order for your pest control plan to remain effective, you must maintain it. This is especially true if you live in an armadillo-infested location. Here are a few long-term strategies we suggest you try:

1. Fill The Armadillo Hole With Gravel

First, fill in the armadillo hole. Once the armadillo has been removed from your land and you are certain there are no more armadillos active in the yard, you can fill the burrows with gravel and pack it down. This control method ensures the animal won’t return to the same burrows. 

2. Build A Better Fence

Your existing fence can’t have been doing a great job of protecting your land from the invasion of armadillos.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to pull down your existing fence. Instead, try adding a pest control fence at the bottom of your decorative landscape fence.

This low-profile pest fence needs to be dug deep into the ground. To do this, you need to dig a trench around 12” to 18” inches deep and sit the pest control fence in it. Simply backfill the trench and fix the protruding fence to posts or your existing fence structure.

Armadillos are not great at jumping (unless they are spooked). According to Oklahoma State University, a fence of about 12” high should suffice.

3. Remove All Food Sources

Just like other wandering animals, armadillos are attracted to food. Whether it’s composting fruit and vegetables or grubs, they will need removal.

Getting rid of an armadillo’s food sources takes time and patience. Unfortunately, this pest isn’t the smartest animal on earth and it won’t leave the yard as soon as its food source disappears.

It may even increase its burrowing activity for a few days after it realizes that it’s time to move on to another foraging spot. 

The best way to eradicate the armadillo’s food sources is to apply granular insecticide in your garden. Insecticides kill all kinds of insects for up to 3 months and will significantly reduce the presence of insects in your yard, thus removing the armadillo’s food source.

I’m not a fan of this approach. Your garden needs insects. They perform all of the magic of pollination, bringing in birds and other small beneficial animals. One annoying armadillo does not justify the insect equivalent of an atomic bomb to wipe out an armadillo’s food source.

My advice is to stick with traps and ultrasonic repellents. They produce awesome results and are much more sensitive to the whole biodiversity of your garden.

Getting Rid Of Pesky Armadillos For Good

The above steps on how to get rid of armadillos from your yard will not only treat your pest problem for good but also prevents these habitual wanderers from returning.

Remember that armadillos are attracted to backyards with ample amounts of insects. So in a strange way, they are a positive sign of the health of your land.

For all the tips and tricks shared, experience tells us that the use of a large cage trap to remove the animal, backed up by ultrasonic repellent devices to keep them outside of your property perimeter, is the most effective and humane treatment.

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