The armadillo is one of the superstars of the household pest world. Weighing in at a hefty 10 to 15 pounds, the armadillo makes a formidable foe for the homeowner, gardener, or business owner trying to keep their property free of holes. You might be able to set out traps for mice or seal up your house against bats, but the only solution for getting rid of armadillos is a little more complicated: trap and release.
Here is what you can do to prepare for catching the armadillo on your property:
- Research traps made for trapping armadillo or other large animals
- Understand what an armadillo eats and some of its basic habits
- Locate its burrow or any place it frequents to eat
- Decide where you will take the armadillo once you catch it
- Consult state and municipal laws regarding the capture and release of armadillos
Selecting the Right Trap
When you plan out how to trap an armadillo, your first step is to determine which trap you will use to capture it. Some people go so far as to construct their own trap out of wood and wire. If you choose to do this, know that trap designs for catching animals like squirrels and rabbits are not large enough to fit an armadillo. This could become a legal matter in the end so please ensure that you check your state laws before trapping an armadillo to make sure the method you are using is in accordance any local laws that may restrict such trapping. Whatever trap you use will have to be large enough to humanely contain the armadillo for a time.
Most trap companies feature one-door and two-door designs. The one-door model is usually easier to set up. The advantage of the two-door model is it doubles your chances of luring the armadillo in. Many websites recommend placing two long pieces of wood on either side of the trap to act as a kind of funnel that guides the armadillo toward the trap.
Choosing Your Bait
Armadillos seem like they eat everything, and they will eat anything from spoiled meat from your garbage can to the fruit out of your garden. Their diet, though, is mostly animal based, and they really only look for fruits and vegetables when there are not enough bugs and critters in the dirt to keep them full. Why is this important? Part of the art of catching an armadillo is proper management of the bait.
You don’t need to purchase bait to catch an armadillo. You can use spoiling fruit, rotting meat, or insects (think fish bait). The only problem with choosing anything high on the list of an armadillo’s favorites is it is sure to attract unwanted pests. Then you are faced with something you didn’t want to catch in your trap, like a rat, or an empty trap each morning with the bait missing. Bait can be more of a hassle than a help when figuring out how to trap an armadillo; the choice, in the end, is up to you and might take a little trial and error to figure out what works.
Make sure you only touch the bait with gloves since the smell of a human is likely to deter the armadillo from inspecting the bait. It also needs to be placed properly in the trap so that the trigger is released, for one, and so the whole armadillo is inside the cage when it snaps shut. some experts recommend placing a brick or something else heavy in the trap so it can’t tip over.
Proper Placement and Humane Release
Havahart, a commercial trap brand, shares some advice on how to trap an armadillo using one of their products. They recommend spending a little time tracking the armadillo across your property. Locate its burrow if you can; pay attention to where it is leaving tracks over the ground on its way to nibbling on your trash or digging through your garden. This should give you a few ideas about where to effectively place the trap. Setting it up along the trails the armadillo takes or very near its burrow will increase your chances of luring it into your trap. Remember it needs to get close enough to be able to either smell the bait you’ve placed or stumble into the unbaited trap. If you choose not to bait your trap, you may want to set up a two-door trap directly in its path with wooden planks set up to lead the armadillo through.
Hopefully this all leads to success. Check your trap regularly to reduce the risk it tips over, damaging the trap or hurting itself. Once you’ve caught your culprit, you need to have a plan for releasing it back into the wild. Use caution at all times and wear protective gear like gloves and long sleeves since armadillos, like all wild animals, can bite and carry diseases. The first step is to check your local laws about releasing armadillos. Then you need to choose a location at least two miles away from your house– if it made a cozy enough home on your property it can easily find its way back within five miles. Other recommend going as far as you can to ensure it does not return. The area of release should be a marshy woodland or near a swap so the armadillo can make a new burrow and find natural food sources.
Before You Set Your Trap…
You are well on your way to catching the armadillo plaguing your property and having a lump-free yard once again. If you decide this process is a little much for you to handle, don’t hesitate to call a pest control expert. This may be your best option if you would like the armadillo captured and removed as soon as possible. At the very least, you should call your local extension or animal control office to learn more about trapping armadillos in your area and where it is safe and legal to send them on their way.