Ask The County Agent: ‘How can I get rid of Armadillos?’
By Stephanie Butcher, Coweta County – UGA Extension Office
Question: How can I get rid of armadillos?
Agent: Armadillos. What a nuisance, right? They showed up in Texas in the 1800s and began moving north. By the 1950s they had made it to South Georgia and finally made it to North Georgia by the early 2000s.
A good friend of mine was a county agricultural agent in Texas at the same time I began working as an agent here in 2005. She and I were comparing our programs one day and she said, “What is the most common question you get at your office?” I answered, “How can I get rid of armadillos?”
She laughed at me. I responded with something like, “Don’t laugh at us! They may have been in Texas for years, but they just now found us here in beautiful North Georgia.”
That was almost 15 years ago, and it’s still one of the most common questions we hear at our office. In fact, lately it is THE most common question. Armadillos seem to be more active than usual lately, and it’s probably because of the extremely dry weather.
Since armadillos feed primarily on invertebrates under the soil surface, they find their way to lush, watered lawns that offer easy access to grubs and other insects. The rooting action that takes place while they forage often damages lawns and landscapes. They leave shallow holes 1 to 3 inches deep and 3 to 5 inches wide, usually shaped like an inverted cone. Armadillo foraging can also uproot flowers and other plantings.
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension wildlife experts recommend following the H.E.R.L. model for wildlife damage management. This step-by-step method starts with ‘H’ for habitat modification or harassment; ‘E’ for exclusion; ‘R’ for repellent or removal; and ‘L’ for lethal control. Habitat modification or harassment and exclusion are the first two choices; however, these methods are often impractical, expensive or ineffective for armadillos.
Currently there are no registered repellants for use against armadillos. That leaves us with lethal control.
Armadillos may be hunted or trapped year-round without limit. While shooting can be an effective control method, it may not be safe or desirable for suburban landowners. If this is the case, then trapping should be used as the control method.
A UGA study revealed that baiting traps was virtually a waste of time and money. The good news is that trapping works, but baiting is less important than trap placement.
Place cage traps with guides toward the door near an active burrow. Traps placed near natural barriers or fences, such as the walls of patios, edges of buildings or landscaping features, will also have greater success. Random placement of traps is not usually successful.
Determine where damage is occurring and trace it back to an active burrow. If no burrow can be found or it is located on another property, place the trap along the travel corridor. Armadillos often travel along barriers, natural or manmade, so placing a trap along the edges of these barriers can increase success.
For more information about traps or for a list of local, certified wildlife control operators, email [email protected] or call 770-254-2620.
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Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, Veteran, Disability Institution. Photo credits – UGA Cooperative Extension