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.
A 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. 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.
Best Baits for Armadillos
Armadillos have a great sense of smell, so using the right bait is key to luring them into your trap.
Worms – Worms are a favorite of armadillos and serve as excellent bait. Gather some worms from your garden or purchase a tub of live bait worms from a fishing supply store.
Carrion with a strong odor is an effective bait for armadillos. Small dead animals, such as mice or birds, work well.
Overripe fruit – Armadillos are attracted to the strong scent of overripe fruit. Use overripe peaches, mangos, melons, or berries as bait.
Fish or meat – Bits of fish, chicken, beef, or pork scraps work well. Don’t use venison or rabbit meat; armadillos usually don’t eat other mammals.
Pet food – Wet dog or cat food, especially fish-based varieties, makes a great lure for armadillos.
Insects – Gather insects such as grubs, crickets, or mealworms for a simple armadillo bait.
Armadillo Trapping Tips
Choosing Your Trap
Selecting the right trap is the first step:
- Use medium to large cage traps, sized at least 10″ x 12″ x 32″. Choose traps with a small mesh to prevent armadillos from squeezing out.”
- Box traps, with their enclosed design, contain armadillos effectively. Select a single-door box trap, around 10″ x 12″ x 32″ in size.
- Choose funnel-style traps, which guide armadillos into the enclosure. Opt for a medium to large-sized funnel trap.
Top Tip: Avoid traps that harm armadillos, like leg-hold or body-grip traps. Use humane live-catch cages or box traps instead.
Prime Trapping Locations
Set your trap where armadillos naturally travel:
- Along pathways leading to and from burrows
- Near ant or termite mounds
- Next to logs, stumps, or brush piles
- In areas with signs of armadillo digging
- Near gardens, compost heaps or bird feeders
Position the trap so the entrance channel leads the armadillo directly inside.
The Best Times to Trap
Dusk – Armadillos become most active at dusk when they exit their burrows to forage.
Night – Late evenings and nighttime are prime times to capture nocturnal armadillos.
Rainy weather – Armadillos really get moving during and after rainfall.
Spring and summer – Armadillo trapping is more successful during breeding season and warm months when armadillos are more energetic.
Signs of an Armadillo Problem
Armadillos uproot grass and plants as they forage for grubs and insects. Look for:
- Holes – Armadillos dig small, cone-shaped holes, about 1-3 inches wide, in lawns and flowerbeds.
- Torn up patches – Look for areas where grass or landscaping has been ripped up, indicating armadillo digging activity.
- Damaged plant roots are common; armadillos often disturb and expose them while digging.
- Dry brown grass – Their digging can damage lawn irrigation systems, causing dried out brown spots.
Disturbed Garden Beds
Armadillos tear up garden areas searching for juicy worms and bugs:
- Holes in vegetable gardens – Watch for small dug holes around veggies.
- Disturbed mulch – Look for signs of armadillos rooting through mulch for insects.
- Uprooted plants – Armadillos knock over and uproot seedlings and established plants as they forage.
- Damaged fruits and vegetables – You may find armadillos have nibbled on fruits, berries, and vegetables.
Tip-offs Around the Property
Other clues that armadillos are lurking:
- Look for cone-shaped armadillo burrows under sheds, decks, or porches.
- Shallow armadillo tracks visible in soft soil.
- Armadillo scat is another sign; it’s typically cylindrical in shape.
- Evidence of armadillos near compost piles or trash cans.
- Holes leading to areas under fences, sheds or the house.
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.
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.
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.
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Mike is the Founder of Familylifeshare. Mike is well-knowledged in marriage, parenting, dogs, blogging and committed to sharing his knowledge and expertise with his readers. Know more about Mike from here.