How Do I Get Rid of Armadillos?

A nine-banded armadillo.
Armadillos may become pests. How can you get rid of them humanely?

Do you have armored critters digging in your back yard? As climate change takes its toll on the landscape of the US, armadillos are slowly marching North. Armadillos are generally warm-weather critters, which is why they didn’t live outside the tropics and subtropics until recent changes in climate. An armadillo in a temperate area may be tucked up in your barn or crawlspace is likely looking for a way to stay warm, and is also likely foraging for food.

The best way to deter armadillos, as with most nuisance wildlife, is to remove or secure food sources, such as outdoor pet food and fresh compost. If that’s not enough to dissuade your backyard armadillos, it’s probably because they’re munching on earth worms, grubs; and other backyard buggies. Be sure to also close crawlspace doorways and any other possible unwanted entry points.

There are several humane repellents you can try using. One option is castor oil (diluted 20/80 with water if you’d like to stretch it out). It will kill and spoil most bugs in the ground and has an odor that armadillos find unbearable, so it can be placed in or around holes dug by armadillos. Bitter and spicy repellents, like Bitrex and chili oil— which you can spray on the ground or on a fruit or pet food— can also cause the critters to associate your barn with nasty food, and they’ll move elsewhere.

It may be worth investing in motion-activated lights and noise not just to repel armadillos, but also other potential pests, especially if you have small livestock that might benefit from general repellents.

If none of these methods work to humanely get rid of armadillos, your state may allow trapping and relocation of armadillos. Note that relocation laws vary dramatically between states, and that relocating animals often leads to their death due to existing territorial issues and food limitations. When possible, it’s always best to encourage wildlife to leave on their own.

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