What Attracts Armadillos To Your Yard?

What Attracts Armadillos To Your Yard

The armadillo is a cunning creature. Though fascinating in body and build, the armadillo can become a backyard pest. If your yard is becoming the new armadillo vacation hub, you may be wondering: what makes my yard so inviting and what can I do to keep them away?

Why have these armadillos decided to move in? Like any wild critter, the armadillo is trying to survive. Something about your yard has them coming back.

Armadillos are attracted to food and shelter. The armadillo’s food is typically in the form of insects, like ants or termites. For housing, the armadillo enjoys supple earth with good cover.

To keep the armadillo away, you need to eliminate their food source and their ability to comfortably burrow. 

You can’t be too careful with the armadillo; their disruption of your lawn’s aesthetics should be the least of your worries. Armadillo tunnels can compromise the integrity of your home’s foundation, disrupt sewer lines and drain fields, and cause thousands of dollars in damage in the process.

In this article, we will learn more about what attracts armadillos to your yard, and what you can do to stop them.

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Why Armadillos Keep Coming Back to Your Yard

You’ve worked hard to create the calming backyard oasis of your dreams. The problem is, you’re not the only one who thinks of your backyard as paradise. Unless you take proper actions, a beautiful yard will attract more than just your friends on the weekend. It will attract armadillos too.

An armadillo wants several things.

  1. A stable food source
  2. Cover for their tunnels
  3. Safety from predators

Stable food source. Is your yard filled will an armadillo’s favorite food? Ants, termites, and many other bugs like beetles and grubs are what these little creatures love most.

Take a walk around your yard and ask yourself what the armadillo is finding that brings them back. Then, take steps to abolish the source.

Cover. The armadillo prefers some form of a shield when they tunnel. A cluttered yard with old junk or overgrown bushes is a bonus in the armadillo’s eyes.

Perform the same yard sweep as you did when identifying the armadillo’s food source. If your yard appears clean and well kept, try searching near the edge of your yard – are there overhanging branches from the neighbors? Removing these limbs might be a key to repelling these scaly critters.

Safety from predators. Perhaps you have a large hole in your fence, and your neighbors have a dog. These other predators are effectively herding the armadillos to your yard. So what do you do?

Repair the fence, for starters. Next, depending on how much damage the armadillos are causing, consider creating a few predators of your own . . .

Here are a few ideas to effectively keep armadillos out of your yard:

  1. Buy a dog
  2. Motion-activated sprinkler
  3. Create a threatening environment with unpleasant odors

Let’s go into these in more detail.

1. Consider Buying a Dog

Have you wanted to get a dog anyway? Here’s your chance. While owning a dog doesn’t guarantee you will never have another armadillo in your yard, it will help.

When they see a dog running around your yard, this might convince the armadillo to seek shelter somewhere else. Terriers are a dog breed once frequently used to catch farm rodents like rats and mice, and may be an option if you need a dog to scare away armadillos.

It’s important to note that a dog will usually come in at night, leaving the armadillos an opportunity to strike. However, if you have a dog that spends a significant amount of time outdoors, it will help chase the armadillos away and thwart access to your yard. Generally, armadillos do not even like the smell of dogs. This, paired with the sound of a barking dog, are often enough to cause the armadillos to quickly exit your property.

At this point, you may be saying, “I have a dog, and I still have armadillos!” An indoor dog is not going to be as effective at armadillo control. Thankfully, there are several more options.

2. Motion Sprinkler to Deter Armadillo

If you’re not crazy about the idea of purchasing a dog, there are other options. A motion-activated sprinkler will fire water at approaching pests. The major advantage of this option – it works at night. In fact, electronic repellants, such as motion-activated sprinklers, can be used to protect your plants, yard, trees, mulch beds, vegetable gardens, entryways, pathways, and even your outdoor structures.

Armadillos are nocturnal. Some sleep for up to nineteen hours a day. These creatures are more than happy to wait out your dog. That’s where the sprinkler comes into play, as they immediately repel armadillos above ground. You can place it knowing that you will have a mechanical guard on 24-hour armadillo duty.

Here is one available for purchase. 

3. Use Odors to Create a Threatening Environment to Deter Armadillos

The armadillo is constantly sniffing for danger. These animals have a powerful sense of smell, and you can use this to your advantage. Armadillos despise the smell of castor oil. It will both drive armadillos out and prevent them from digging for food in your yard. You can get pet safe castor oil and deposit it in the area of the armadillo. Here is a homemade recipe you can use to spray in your backyard:

  • 2 part castor oil
  • 1 part dish soap
  • Add 2 Tablespoons to a gallon of water
  • Apply to yard

Here is some castor oil for purchase. You will have to be persistent with this if you are going to use castor oil. You may need to apply several rounds of it to your yard to begin to see real results.

Another at-home armadillo repellent that uses smells to your advantage is cayenne pepper. Simply sprinkling the spice around your home is an incredibly effective way to keep armadillos away from your property. Once the animal smells the cayenne pepper, it will immediately find its way out without any hesitation.

The final option you have with regard to odors that keep armadillos out of your yard is the urine of its predators. Armadillos have quite a few wild predators including dogs, foxes, raccoons, cougars, bobcats, and coyotes. If an armadillo detects the scent of a predator nearby, they will be find somewhere else to burrow for fear of being eaten. You can purchase coyote pee online and sprinkle it around your yard to keep armadillos away. Though, it will need to be reapplied after rain, snow, or heavy sun exposure.

More Ideas to Keep Armadillos Out

If the battle has begun, then you must fight with all you’ve got. You don’t want to let the armadillo get the upper hand. Here are a few more ideas to counteract their efforts:

  1. Install Proper Fencing
  2. Set Live Traps
  3. Hire a Professional

Install Proper Fencing

A well-built fence is your first line of defense against the armadillo. You will want to dig down and place the wall as far into the ground as possible to prevent tunneling underneath – at least twelve inches.

Yes, they can burrow; however, your fence will make it harder. And, it will make it easier to catch them if they penetrate your blockade.

The fence does not have to very tall either, as armadillos cannot jump very high off the ground. For best results, a short, durable fence that is installed deep into the ground is recommended.

Set Live Traps and Relocate

If your fence fails, then, along with the previously mentioned repellants, you will need to trap the armadillo.

Trap placement. It’s not easy to bait an armadillo, so you will need to rely on trap placement.

The best spots will be:

  • Openings from burrows
  • Edge of fence and foundation

Set up objects to funnel the armadillo towards the traps. A funnel could be a piece of wood or fallen log.

After you’ve successfully trapped and armadillo, take care in handling the trap. You don’t want to come into close contact with wild animals. Take the armadillo somewhere many miles from your home and release them.

Note: Be sure to check if you have any local laws or ordinances surrounding trapping animals and where they can be released.

Hire a Pest Control Professional

If you find you are unable to do battle with the armadillo, consider hiring someone to deter them for you. No one likes to spend unnecessary money, but if the armadillos destroy your home’s foundation, you will be spending much more than you would on professional pest control.

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Final Advice

Don’t give up. Armadillos can be pesky. Remember, they are just trying to survive. Once they see that your yard is not conducive to their survival needs, they are likely to leave.

After you’ve cleared an armadillo from your yard, fill the holes they’ve created with dirt and gravel. You don’t want to leave an easy home for the next critter that wanders into your yard.

And before you know it, you will be saying goodbye to your little armored friends.

Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners and home improvement enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and gardening tips with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance, cleaning your carpet, or even putting up a fence, we've got you covered.

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