Trapping armadillos humanely isn’t always plain sailing. When I set out with the aim to trap an armadillo, well – let’s just say I learned the hard way that it can be a major pain. Over time I’ve learned a few tricks that I’d like to share with you, so that you can catch that pesky armadillo sooner rather than later and without causing any harm.
In this article, I’ll go over a six-step method that works for me, and I’m sure that with a little patience, it will work for you too.
- 1. Identify The Armadillo's Path
- 2. Place Trap In Armadillo's Path
- 3. Bait Your Armadillo Traps
- 4. Set Your Trap
- 5. Check The Trap Every Morning
- 6. Handling A Trapped Armadillo
Choosing An Armadillo Trap
Trapping armadillos can be tricky. Fortunately, there is an easy way to go about it. Learning how to catch armadillos is a practice in patience and, in order to succeed, you’ll need to use an armadillo trap. So, what are the different types of armadillo traps? And which should you use?
Types Of Armadillo Traps
There are two main types of armadillo traps on the market: one-door and two-door, and each type have its pros and cons. So, let’s briefly go over each type now so that you can choose the one that makes the most sense to you.
I think that one-door traps are probably the best for beginners because they’re the easiest to set up and dismantle. The idea is pretty simple. Basically, these traps have a single door that the armadillo can walk through. Once they enter the trap, though, it’s impossible for them to open the door again from the inside. You can buy these traps from specialist hardware stores,or I picked mine up from Amazon.com for around $50. Here’s the link if you need it: Armadillo Traps.
The downside to one-door traps is that they have a lower success rate than two-door ones since they only have one entrance, so the armadillo has to enter from the correct side. Otherwise, the trap won’t work. However, with a bit of patience, one-door models are effective, and they’re super-easy to deploy in your yard.
Two-door traps are another option that also does a great job at catching armadillos. The idea is similar to that of the one-door style. The armadillo enters through a door but, once inside, is unable to escape. I can tell you that two-door traps do take a little bit longer to assemble. But you can always buy them pre-made if that’s a big deal.
For what it’s worth, these traps are typically twice as effective as one-door models because the armadillo can enter from either side, meaning that you’ll likely catch that pesky armadillo a bit quicker. That said, two-door traps do tend to be a little bit more expensive. But, hey – you can’t put a price on trapping armadillos!
How To Trap An Armadillo In 6 Steps
So, now that we’ve looked at both one-door and two-door armadillo traps and you’ve decided on the perfect one for your needs, what now? Well, the good news is that the actual process of trapping armadillos is fairly easy and straightforward. Just follow these six simple steps, and you should be able to catch that annoying armadillo pretty quickly.
1. Identify The Armadillo’s Path
Okay, so just to be clear, when I said that catching armadillos is fairly easy, I meant it’s fairly easy if you know what you’re doing. But since you found your way to this article, it’s probably safe to assume that it’s your first time learning how to catch armadillos.
Here’s the thing: In order for your traps to be effective, you essentially need to lure the armadillo to the front door of the trap. To do that, you first need to identify the critter’s path. So, how do you do that?
It’s easy to detect the presence of armadillos in your yard. They tend to leave a trail of death and destruction in their wake. Okay, maybe not death. But they can definitely do a number on your lawn. If you have an outdoor camera system, then the problem is solved. If not, then a little detective work should uncover a trail of holes where the armadillo has been burrowing to dig up worms and grubs. According to Clemson University, you may also discover upturned flowers, damaged insect hills, or even wasp nests that have been torn apart in the wake of an armadillo.
Discovering the armadillo’s path is half the battle. Once you’ve identified his stomping grounds, you can give yourself a pat on the back and move on to the next step.
2. Place Trap In Armadillo’s Path
This part is probably the easiest step in the whole process. Basically, you just want to position your trap somewhere along the armadillo’s path. If you can locate the burrow, then your task will be that much easier — simply place the trap on top of the burrow, and the armadillo should walk right into it.
Otherwise, try to position the trap directly in line with the trail of holes and recessed grass you uncovered while doing your detective work. With any luck, the armadillo will stroll right into your trap and make itself at home. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not quite so simple, and you may need to use some bait to lure the little fellow into the trap.
3. Bait Your Armadillo Traps
Armadillos eat a few different things but their favorite snacks are worms, especially mealworms, and earthworms. In my experience, the best way to bait your armadillo traps is to position the bait in such a way that will force the armadillo to step on the trap’s trigger plate.
The trigger plate is the mechanism that causes the doors to engage and lock. Generally speaking, somewhere in the center of the trap will work best, but this all depends on the specific trap you’ve purchased and where the trigger plate is located.
4. Set Your Trap
Armadillos are (mostly) nocturnal, meaning that they usually only come out at night. As such, the best time to spring your trap is just after dusk before the hungry armadillo strolls out of bed and decides to look for some breakfast.
Each trap is a little bit different, so it’s impossible to say exactly how to configure your specific trap. You can’t go wrong by following the manufacturer’s instructions which will have been included with the trap when you purchased it.
5. Check The Trap Every Morning
Now comes the fun part. You get to sit back and relax. Oops, did I say sit back and relax? My mistake; you’ll need to check on your armadillo trap every morning. If you’re lucky, you’ll bait your trap at night, head to bed, and wake up to find the critter trapped in the morning.
But, if you don’t catch the armadillo on the first night, don’t despair. Trapping armadillos requires luck and patience. It can sometimes take weeks to catch an armadillo, and that’s even if you do everything right.
6. Handling A Trapped Armadillo
So, you’ve managed to trap the armadillo – Congratulations! But now you need to handle the creature, which is another issue entirely. Don’t let their small size fool you. An armadillo can definitely take a chunk out of your arm, especially if they are trapped and scared. I’ve learned a few things about handling armadillos, so let me give you some advice.
Wear Protective Clothing
The biggest mistake people make when trying to handle a trapped armadillo is not wearing protective clothing. At the very minimum, you should wear a thick, long-sleeved shirt that will give you some protection from the armadillo’s claws. Remember, armadillos spend their lives digging and burrowing, and as such, they often have razor-sharp claws. I would recommend buying a pair of animal handling gloves from somewhere like Amazon, to avoid any unwanted hassle of dealing with the risk of picking up a virus or infection.
You should also wear gloves when handling an armadillo. Armadillos can be dangerous. In addition to sharp claws, they also have sharp teeth, and believe me, they won’t hesitate to bite you if given the chance. Thick leather gloves should prevent the teeth from penetrating your hands.
Releasing The Armadillo
When it comes to releasing the armadillo, you’ll need to check with your local wildlife officials to determine an appropriate spot. Generally, the best place to release an armadillo will be in a damp, forested environment.
Make sure that you release the critter at least five miles away from your property, or it might just return to exact its vengeance on your lawn.
Ways To Prevent Armadillos Returning
All joking aside, armadillos really can return, and so there are a few practical steps you should take to prevent this from happening.
The first thing you should do is reduce the number of attractants that likely encouraged the armadillo to show up in the first place.
Next, you’ll want to add a few deterrents that will make the armadillo think twice about returning to your yard. This is important, so let’s look at each of these factors in more detail.
Armadillos are primarily attracted to underground food sources, namely worms. So, completely removing the attractants is probably not feasible. However, there are a few things you can do to decrease the likelihood of the pest returning.
You should consider removing any cover, such as brush, shrubs, and low-lying bushes, as well as any piles of wood that may be lying around your yard. Armadillos don’t like to be out in the open, so by removing these sources of cover, they’ll be much less likely to return.
Next, you should place a few deterrents in your yard. The best deterrent is castor oil. Armadillos absolutely hate the smell of castor oil, so by spreading some around your property line, you’ll be able to dramatically reduce the odds of armadillos digging up your lawn.
Castor oil also spoils the taste of the worms, so even if an armadillo does return, it will probably leave immediately after eating one worm that has been exposed to castor oil. You can find castor oil at many drug stores, as well as at big box stores like Walmart, or Amazon.
Cayenne Pepper is another effective deterrent. Armadillos don’t like the smell of pepper, and once they sniff it, it irritates their nostrils. The pepper won’t cause any lasting harm, but it will certainly encourage the armadillo to move along and try somebody else’s lawn instead.
If you have flower beds, then consider placing some mulch or wood chips at the base of your flowers. Armadillos are great at digging, but their claws aren’t well suited to combating wood. Once armadillos realize that you have wood protecting your flower bed, they will usually leave in search of ground that is easier to penetrate.
Final Thoughts On Trapping Armadillos
So, now that I’ve gone over how to catch an armadillo, I’d like to just reiterate the main points that you should keep in mind. First and foremost, be patient. Trapping armadillos isn’t easy. Even if you do everything right, it can take weeks before you finally catch one.
If you want to have any chance of catching an armadillo, then you’ll need to use a trap. One-door traps are great for beginners, and they are the easiest to set up. Two-door models, although slightly more expensive and more time-consuming to deploy, offer twice the odds of success.
Make sure that you bait your trap with some nice, tasty worms, and try your best to locate the burrow, as this will make placing your trap that much easier.
Once you do catch the armadillo, remember to wear protective clothing before handling the creature. Otherwise, you could get scratched or bitten, which, trust me, is something you want to avoid at all costs.
Take the armadillo to a moist, forested area that’s at least five miles away from your property, then make an effort to reduce the attractants in your yard. Remove any cover that will allow armadillos to hide, such as low-lying bushes, shrubs, and woodpiles.
Finally, add some deterrents to your yard. Castor oil works best, but cayenne pepper is also effective, and remember to add some mulch or wood chips around any flower beds on your property.
I’ve had a lot of success using this six-step method to trap armadillos, and I’m sure that if you follow these steps and adhere to the advice in this article, you’ll be able to catch and get rid of the armadillo quickly and prevent it from returning to your yard.
FAQs Catching Armadillos
So, we’ve gone over the most important things to consider when it comes to trapping armadillos, but I often get the same questions over and over again. Therefore, I’d like to answer a couple of these wildly popular questions for good measure.