Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)


28-48 inches long with 9-15 inch tail. 6-18 pounds

Signs of their presence:

The animal itself

Holes in the lawn, around 3-5 inches wide and 1-3 inches deep

Uprooted plants and seedlings

Small burrow entrances near a structure. Around 7-10 inches in diameter

In some cases, cracks sidewalks, driveways, or foundation due to their burrowing

Scat: Pellets around an inch long with bits of food visible

Sounds: They will let out a shriek or squeal when in distress. They will emit a cricket-like chirp


Insectivores. They mainly eat insects and other invertebrates; however, they are known to eat small reptiles, amphibians, and plant matter as well. They consume beetles, termites, ants, maggots, snails, grasshoppers, worms, and larvae.

Typical activity patterns:

Social style: Solitary excluding breeding season and taking care of the young.

Daily activity: Mainly nocturnal. However, during colder months they will come out during the day to warm their body.

Hibernates: No

Migrates: No

Where found:

In Alabama armadillos can be found throughout the southern two-thirds of the state.


Prefers forests with mature trees including pine, oak, and hickory.

Territory and Home Range:

May vary. During breeding season armadillos defend their home range in order to better their chances of breeding a female.

Breeding habits:

Pair bonding style: Polygamous. Males are thought to have more than one breeding partner

Breeding Dates: July-August. Gestation takes about four months. Implantation is delayed three to four months, so the young are not born at a bad time.

Litter Size: Four young are born from one fertilized egg.

Birthing Date: Around March

Weaning Date: Around 3 months

Amount of time young remain after weaning date: three to nine months. After they are weaned they will forage with the mother and leave in six months to a year.

Common nuisance situations:

Time of year: Any time of the year

What are they doing?

Their presence might frighten people due to disease risks

Digging up lawns in search of food

Damaging underground pipes

Damaging foundations, sidewalks, or driveways with their burrows

Ripping up young plants in search of food

Disease Risks: leprosy

Legal status in Alabama:

Unprotected. Armadillos causing damage to your property can be shot or trapped year-round.

Best practices

Fence off Vulnerable Areas:

Erect a wire fence around the foundation of your house. Bury the fence 2 feet deep and have it near 2 feet above ground. Put electric wire through the top of the fence to stop them from climbing over.

Put of the same fence for gardens and flower beds. Putting hardwood chips down may deter the armadillo as well. They will not want to dig through all the chips.

Make your yard uninviting:

Sprinkle cayenne pepper around the yard. This will irritate the nose of the armadillo

Get rid of the grubs and worms that the armadillo is digging for with pesticides

Spread castor oil repellents in the yard

This makes the grubs and insects taste bad and creates a foul smell in the burrows

Remove any wood piles, rotting woods, or other structures that bugs and grubs live in

Set up motion-activated sprinklers. Armadillos are skittish so a burst of water will deter them from an area

Install motion activated sound systems to deter the armadillo


Trap the armadillos near their burrows or areas they frequent

Set the traps on trails that armadillos use from coming out of the woods into a field

Remove Artificial Food Sources:

Feed pets inside

Store birdseed, pet food, and animal feed indoors or in a secured container

Store compost in a sturdy container, such as a 55-gallon drum or a store-bought composter

Store garbage in a closer container and do not put the garbage out over night.

Trapping strategies:

Live Capture:

Set a trap around 36 x 12 inches

Trapping armadillos can be extremely helpful in alleviating the issues.

Set a trap right in front of the burrow or along the wall or fencing closest to the damaged area

Create a funnel with wood guiding the armadillo to the trap

Bait the trap with earth worms

Lethal Traps:

Set a body-gripping trap at the burrows entrance or on a trail traveled by the armadillos

Set them at dusk and make sure pets cannot get into the yard

Set the trap in a cubby or enclosed in an area to reduce the risk of harming pets of children

Traps set on land cannot have a jaw spread exceeding 5 inches when measuring from the main triggering mechanism to the opposing jaw.

Preferred killing methods:

CO2 chamber (if caught in a cage trap, simply place the trap in the chamber.)

Shooting, using a shotgun, rifle, bow, or crossbow (target the chest area)

Acceptable killing methods:


Control strategies that don’t work particularly well or aren’t legal in Alabama:

Mothballs have been used but have no effect on armadillos.

Motion-activated lights have no real effect on armadillos since they have such poor eyesight

Pour vinegar around a vulnerable area to deter armadillos from entering

Poison has no effect on armadillos as they only eat grubs and worms that they dig up

For information on pesticides follow the link,