Need to trap an Armadillo? Whether they’re looking for food or resting, they can be tricky little animals to catch due to their speed and elusiveness. But how do you actually trap an armadillo? Well, it may not be as hard as you think.
Here are the 3 successful steps to trapping an Armadillo:
- Use a 12 x 10 x 30 steel cage
- Set the cage directly above the armadillo’s burrow, or their walking path
- Set traps along the walls, and barriers (like a wooden plank) to lead it into the cage
The location of the trap is the best factor in catching an Armadillo, and surprisingly, there is very little bait that will successfully lure it in.
There are a lot of factors that play into catching an armadillo, and can be done in more ways than one. Although calling Animal Control would be a safer bet, you too are capable of ridding yourself of your animal pest problem! Here’s what you need to know.
Do Armadillos Hurt Humans?
Armadillos are very athletic animals, despite their oblong shape. They are excellent at running, swimming, and digging. However, Armadillos are not prone to chasing or hurting humans. In fact, there’s a likely chance that if they see you, they will run away.
They have a very small mouth, with very small teeth, that are used for eating small bugs. With that being said, it’s safe to say that you won’t be bitten, or physically harmed by them.
Although, an Armadillo could do some damage if significant contact is made. Armadillos can carry the virus for the human form of Leprosy, which is why some of them hop as they walk.
I found out through the Smithsonian that Since 2015, approximately 3 new cases have been reported, as fatalities. Take refuge in how it was transmitted. These 3 individuals contracted the bacteria only because they were directly handling the animal, or ate it’s meat.
Humans have a knack to sometimes indulge in Armadillo meat – also known as the “Poor Man’s Pork”. Annually, about 250,000 people are affected per year, but only 150 – 250 people are actually infected by the Leprosy virus, and fewer than that actually die from the contact.
But not to worry! There is only a 50% chance of you becoming infected with the disease. More good news: just about 95% of the population has a slim-to-none chance of even coming into contact with Armadillos and Leprosy.
If you do contract the illness, it is easily cured with antibiotics, and you have a very small chance of spreading to another person.
Ways To Trap An Armadillo In The Backyard
With their cleverness and stealth, catching an Armadillo can be an interesting challenge. They are very skilled at digging, and love to do it, so they could potentially have burrows in various spaces of your yard or garden.
Coming up with humane techniques to catch an armadillo. Check out this detailed step-by-step- guide on how to trap an armadillo:
1. Choose Your Trap: A large or extra large trap with either one or two doors on either side, for a higher capture rate.
2. Determine Trap Locations: Where the trap is set is the most essential part to catching it. Armadillos have poor eyesight, so the best places to set the trap are:
- Directly above the burrow entrance/exit
- Along a wall or fence near the burrow
- On the everyday walking path of the Armadillo
3. Bait Your Trap: I repeat, food will most likely not lure in an Armadillo. But, the best bait are insects and bugs like:
4. Position the bait noticeably within the ground: Armadillos only dig for their food, so positioning the bait mostly underground is really important to completely luring the animal into the cage.
5. Set Your Trap: It’s recommended to set the trap close to when they surface for food. Armadillos are mostly nocturnal, but are known to come out during the day during cooler times of the year.
6. Check Your Trap Frequently: Armadillos have been known to dig through the bottom of the cage floor when stressed. Check your trap about every 10 minutes to make sure that it stays in the cage, once it’s caught.
7. Yay, You’ve Caught The Armadillo! Remember to wear thick gloves to reduce physical contact. You can either relocate the animal a couple of miles away from your home, or in a forest, woodland, or near a stream.
- Be sure to stay behind the cage door when releasing it, to keep the Armadillo calm, as it runs away.
8. Reduce Attractants: Clean out the waste, berries, and other products from the Armadillo hole. These items are said to have a luring effect for more of them to come.
If there is more than one, or a family, of Armadillos, contact your local Animal Control department for proper capture and release.
Fun Fact! If you don’t want to use a trap, use Castor Oil. The oil will spoil the bugs and insects in the ground, making it distasteful for the Armadillo to eat. Simply spray the Castor oil directly into, and around its feeding area.
Do Armadillos Live In Holes?
For the most part, yes, Armadillos do live in holes. They sleep underground because the dense soil gives them the same sensation of armored protection as their shell. The ground also allows them to use camouflage for protection.
They use their thick claws to dig a wide and deep burrow, that can be as much as 12 inches wide, and 15 feet deep! If you are experiencing a lot of Armadillo action, it may be because of where you live.
The National Wildlife Federation reports that Armadillos are abundantly found in the southeast region of the United States, Central America, and in northern areas of South America. Due to climate change, they continue to expand, seeking warm and moist environments.
Armadillos prefer forested or grassland habitats, filled with bushes, trees, and shrubs! It provides them with hydration and plenty of bugs to eat. This could be the reason as to why your garden or yard is a prime target for foraging and living.
What Time Do Armadillos Come Out At Night?
Armadillos usually come out from their burrow during the evening and early hours of the day, when it’s dark, because that’s when it’s the coolest, and safest. Specific time frames are challenging to determine simply because of different time zones.
There are rare moments when the animal will emerge during the afternoon to regulate its body temperature, and get some sun!
Reasons For Nocturnal Emergence
- It’s Cooler: The cool air easily regulates it body temperature, which keeps it from getting too hot
- It’s Dark: The darkness creates a much lesser risk of being attacked by a predator
- Camouflage: Most Armadillos are a light-to-dark brown color, so they can blend in with the ground very easily to either stealthy scout for food, or to hide from an attacker
The best way to determine when the Armadillo will emerge is by figuring out where their food is, and when it is most abundant. Armadillos like the challenge of digging for their food, and pulling it from the ground.
So, if you can determine when the worms and grubs come out to play, you’ll have a better chance at catching your Armadillo.
Where Do Armadillos Sleep?
Armadillos sleep in their burrow. They tend to sleep mostly during the day, for approximately 15-19 hours! This interesting fact is the reason as to why they are usually active during the night time.
AnimalSake tells us that Armadillos are solitary animals. Because of this reason, each Armadillo tends to sleep in their own individual hole.
They make sure that no other animal intrudes on their space by biologically marking their territory. These animals tend to mark their territory by spraying their urine on it, filling it with their feces, and/or secreting a special scent from the glands of their body.
Is It Legal To Kill An Armadillo?
The general consensus is, no, it is not “legal” to kill an Armadillo.
There are opposing perspectives on whether or not killing the Armadillo is OK, and it’s based on a state-by-state basis. In most cases, state legislature accepts the minimum of trapping the animal in a cage. However, in other states, the rules change when it comes to the life of this “pest” animal.
I’ll also inform you that it’s important to be mindful about how you catch your Armadillo. In some states, not only is it “illegal” to kill the animal, but there could be serious consequences if you even hurt it! Check out these interesting figures:
- In Texas and Florida, you can trap the animal, but you cannot move or transport it
- In Oklahoma, it is legal to trap and/or kill an Armadillo; but, it is illegal to trap the animal, and place it on someone else’s property.
- In Florida, trapping and “humane killing” of the Armadillo, by an official state agency, is accepted.
Also in Florida, it is OK to shoot the Armadillo, as a means of ridding yourself of your animal control problem. But before discharging your firearm, review your local gun laws to find out if you are legally allowed to shoot animals in your area.
Overall, unless you’re in Oklahoma, I suggest trapping your nuisance, then calling Animal Control for easy transport. It’s your safest and most legal bet.
What Are Armadillos Favorite Food?
This might make you cringe: They love to feast on bugs, insects, earthworms and mealworms, and larvae or maggots! Armadillos eat directly out of the earth. Here’s why they enjoy such a unique selection:
- Armadillos have a tiny mouth, only a couple of centimeters across
- Their teeth do not have enamel, so they like small and soft delights that take little effort to chew
- They rely on their acute sense of smell, and can smell as deep as 6 inches!
- Their long and sticky tongue is designed to slurp up whatever is beneath it.
Bugs, Beetles, & Insects
These animals are crunchy and delectable to the Armadillo. Eating bugs and beetles is suitable for this animal because they can fit into its small mouth perfectly. Also, it’s an easy meal to chew and consume, since the Armadillo has no enamel on its teeth.
Believe it or not, bugs and insects are a very viable source of protein for the Armadillo. Which is part of the reason as to why they have mostly lean muscles, and very little fat on them.
Worms, Larvae & Maggots
Want to seriously catch your annoying Armadillo? Using worms, larvae, or maggots is a better choice. Why? Because of their abundance, and the convenience of finding them! And yes, they’re another major protein source for the Armadillo.
Armadillos use their long and slippery tongues as their primary instrument for eating. It secretes a sticky substance that sticks to whatever it licks. This mechanism makes it easy to wrap up worms and larvae, and slurp it right into their mouth.
When the prey is slightly too big to fit in the animal’s mouth, the Armadillo will use its small, peg-like teeth to nibble it down to size. So their teeth, tongue, and mouth, are all connected in foraging for food.
In the wild, Armadillos have been known to step it up a notch by eating small amphibian creatures. Small lizards, frogs, water snakes, or even a tiny fish are occasional dishes for the Armadillo to take part in.
To add more to this short list, during the summer time, they may engage in eating fallen berries that have just the right amount of rot on them. They are also said to eat dead tree bark, but that’s only because they are looking for the bugs and larvae that lives within it.
So since they can barely see, but have a heightened sense of smell, eating what’s on the ground seems ideal. All-in-all, the Armadillo is naturally designed to dine underground.
Some speculators say that rotten fruit is also a favorite food for Armadillos, but I disagree. Research shows that Human food is not a primary form of food for Armadillos. To correct this misconception, rotten fruit creates maggots and larvae, which attracts the armored animal.
So! When you are ready to catch a date with your little armored friend, make sure you pick up the right fixing for it to want to come to you, bugs!
What Food Attracts Armadillos?
If you are going to use food to attract an Armadillo, here are the best non-live food to use, and why.
As we all know, when left out in the air, fish tends to create a very powerful stench. Armadillos are attracted to musty smells, so fish could possibly do the trick. For this to work, take a fish, old or fresh, and partially-to-mostly bury it in the middle of the trap.
Then you wait! The stinky aroma will eventually attract your Armadillo, and lure it directly into the trap for a risky, yet delectable meal.
The best type of fish to use are Sardines, simply because they are the stinkiest! The odor of these small fish, even straight out of the can, has a high chance of attracting the Armadillo out of its burrow, and right into your trap!
Fruit is said to be an effective food for attracting this particular animal because of one factor: larvae!
When fruit begins to rot, it starts to brown, and create a thriving environment for bugs to lay their eggs. Those eggs develop within 3 days by absorbing the nutrients from the fruit, creating one of the Armadillo’s favorite foods, larvae!
Old fruit like berries, apples, or even a banana peel can do the trick of creating larvae or maggots. Sure, this process may take a couple of days, but the Armadillo will thank you for it.
Can you guess why spoiled eggs are on the list? Because they stink! Armadillos have a keen sense of smell, so the scent of a spoiled egg’s foul odor, sulfur, can definitely catch its attention.
Using foul-smelling food, like spoiled eggs increases the chances of trapping your foraging animal friend. Follow these simple instructions to make sure it works:
- Use more than 1 egg
- Make sure that all of the eggs release a smelly odor
- Bury the spoiled eggs underground, underneath the cage
At some point, the Armadillo will follow the scent right into the cage. When you hear the scratching, hurry to the cage to secure it, then call Animal Control for proper transport and removal.
Rotten meat is the hybrid of all the non-live food sources. When left out in heat, it creates a warm and dense environment for larvae and maggots to thrive. And like spoiled eggs, rotten meat also releases sulfur, which causes the smelly odor that Armadillos find so sweet!
As a powerful attract, be sure to bury the meat deep for two reasons:
- It will rot faster, thus, attracting the Armadillo quickly
- It could attract other animals, who could take the meat and run away with it
While using earthly bugs and insects is still a better way to attract an Armadillo, the aforementioned foods are a great start to humanely trapping it.
Do Armadillos Play Dead?
Yes, they can!
Britannica says that Armadillos can “play dead” only under one circumstance: being captured. Once it sees you approaching, and it has no means of defending itself, it will drop to the ground and “play dead”.
“Playing Dead” is technically when the Armadillo either stiffens its muscles, or completely relaxes them. Either way it goes, it will try to appear dead if it cannot defend itself.
It’s important to know that you should not approach a “dead” Armadillo if it is not in a cage. Some brands of Armadillos are known to jump about 2-3 feet directly in the air in order to fight bigger predators. They may also pop up to claw at you, and maybe even attempt to nibble you.
Overall, the Armadillo’s first plan of action is usually to run away. So keep these tips in mind when tracking and trapping any animal, especially an Armadillo.
Do Armadillos Stink?
Yes, Armadillos stink.
They have an interesting body chemistry where, when under duress, they release a musty scent out of its body. The odor is known to intensify based on the threat level. So why do Armadillos stink? Well, consider their diet.
They mostly eat spoiled food or meat, maggots, bugs, and insects. That combined scent of rotten funk is then released though its glands, in order to warn off predators. It’s stinky solution is simply a natural defense mechanism.
Fun Fact! Out of all of the attracts and food that Armadillos partake in, that’s not what drives them wild. The number one attract to lure and catch an Armadillo is…the scent of another Armadillo!
It’s definitely a double-edged sword. So if you use this trick, be sure to be very cautious.
When attempting to handle an Armadillo, always keep a safe distance from its foul secretions, and focus on luring it in with the right bait, to once-and-for-all, trap your pesky Armadillo.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare