From digging burrows and holes to uprooting plants and damaging infrastructure like wiring and pipes, armadillos are more than just a minor nuisance. These pesky mammals can wreak havoc on yards and gardens. If these critters have found their way into your yard, it's only natural to wonder how to get rid of armadillos. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help keep them out of your yard and garden.
Pick Up Fallen Fruit
Armadillos like to munch on fruit that has fallen from trees. The less fruit that's on the ground, the less appealing your yard will be to armadillos. With that in mind, get in the habit of checking the ground beneath your fruit trees and other fruit-bearing plants every few days so you can dispose of fallen fruit that might otherwise encourage armadillos to come and get it.
Repel Them With Garlic
Armadillos don't like the smell of garlic, so it can be helpful as a repellent. Crush up some garlic cloves and put them out around the areas that armadillos have been disturbing. When they come back again, the strong smell of garlic just might cause them to turn around and go somewhere else.
Use Store-Bought Armadillo Repellent
If armadillos are disturbing a large area in your yard, it might not be practical (or affordable!) to surround it with garlic. In that case, consider using a commercial armadillo repellent product instead. It comes in granule form that you can sprinkle around the areas armadillos like to invade.
Remove Yard Clutter
If you've been meaning to get rid of leftover building materials or other yard clutter, now is a great time to move that task to the top of your to-do list. Armadillos love hiding places, so if you have piles of bricks, wood, concrete blocks, rocks, or other stuff lying around, it's like inviting them to move in rent-free. Getting rid of such things just might serve as an armadillo eviction notice, as long as there aren't other hiding spots in your yard.
Reduce Bushy Plants in Your Yard
Speaking of hiding spots, armadillos like to hide in bushy plants. Cut back any overgrown shrubs so there's less space for armadillos to hide, and keep them trimmed moving forward. Better yet, if you have shrubs planted in areas where they're not needed, pull them out and either leave the space bare or plant low-growing plants where they were. When they lose the bushes they like to lurk in, your visiting armadillos just might move on.
Get Rid of Yard Debris
Armadillos like to eat grubs, termites, and other creepy crawlies that tend to congregate in and around fallen branches and leaves, as well as other yard debris. If you have these types of items in your yard, pick them up and keep up with keeping your yard clear of them. Less yard debris means less food for armadillos, which means there's less of a reason for them to visit.
Release Beneficial Nematodes
Removing yard debris will make it harder for armadillos to find insects in your yard, but they're still there. If you want to reduce the population of insects that armadillos seek for dinner, consider releasing beneficial nematodes into your yard. These microscopic organisms will feed on pests that can seriously damage lawns and gardens in addition to luring armadillos, so they offer many benefits.
Install Armadillo Exclusion Fencing
If you have a serious armadillo problem and can spend some money to keep them out, install heavy duty fencing as an armadillo barrier. The fence should extend 12 to 18 inches underground to keep them from digging under the bottom. It should be at least three feet tall. If there are no other animals in the fenced area, installing an electric wire around the top can help keep armadillos from climbing over the fence.
Trap and Release
You can also trap armadillos, but it's important to be aware of local wildlife laws. If armadillos are not a native species in your area, it may be illegal to trap and release one. If it is legal, use a humane live animal trap and let them go several miles away from your home and not near anyone else. If you decide to go this route, consider using a professional wildlife removal service to avoid injury to you and the animal.
How to Recognize Armadillo Activity
If the suggestions above aren't working, it may be possible that you're dealing with something other than - or in addition to - an armadillo problem. The fact that you've seen an armadillo doesn't mean that you might not also be visited by raccoons, possums, or other pesky critters. Sure signs of armadillo activity include:
- Multiple holes across your lawn that range between one and three inches deep and three to five inches wide
- Holes/burrows in the ground that go around things like bushes, tree stumps, or rock piles
Armadillos also chew on wiring and pipes and uproot plants, but so do many other garden pests. If you see this type of damage, but not characteristic armadillo holes and burrows, you may have a different critter visiting your yard. A wildlife expert can help you identify the culprit(s), or - if you want to figure it out on your own - consider setting up a few wildlife cameras.
Getting Rid of Armadillos
Dealing with an armadillo problem can definitely be challenging and frustrating. For the best results, combine several of the strategies listed above to help make your yard less appealing to armadillos. If they have taken up residence in the area near where you live, you may not be able to completely get rid of them. Even so, implementing the ideas above can help you take steps to minimize their presence in - and impact on - your lawn and garden. There's also no substitute for professional help. Consider bringing in a lawn and garden expert or a professional wildlife removal service for expert advice.