Armadillos are really unique animals. Usually, they are not a problem for people, but occasionally they can be a major pest in suburban and agricultural areas. I have gotten lots of mail from people asking me what they can do to get 'dillos to leave their gardens and lawns alone! In their voracious search for insects and grubs to eat, armadillos can dig up quite a bit of land in a night. This picture is just one example of what a hungry 'dillo is capable of. In South America, the giant armadillo is often a major agricultural pest. This large edentate has very strong legs and claws for tearing apart termite mounds but they also come in handy when rooting around for food in a farmer's field!
So, what can be done about these marauding mammals? Unfortunately, not a whole lot. Capturing the armadillo is one option, and it has worked for some people. You can either net the critter if you see it, or you could try a live trap baited with earthworms. (Put the worms in a nylon stocking; this will let the smell out without letting the worms escape!) However, the best solution is not to relocate the bothersome animals. Armadillos are not strongly territorial, and the one you are removing today could be the one who was digging up someone else's yard the day before. They just kind of wander about looking for food, so action taken against one particular animal will just create an opening for another one to wander on in.
The best solution (and the most expensive) is a stout fence to keep the armadillos out. If you take this route, make sure the fence is extended a foot or more into the ground, or the 'dillos might just burrow under it. A less expensive method is to simply make the areas they dig in smell bad to the armadillo. Placing mothballs around the areas you most want to protect can keep pesky burrowers away; they have sensitive noses, and they don't like the smell at all. Peppering your whole lawn with them might be a bit drastic, but they might help you save your flower garden. If you have an animal burrowed under your house, mothballs down the hole might help evict it, although one reader reported that the armadillo just threw the mothballs back out. If you drop a piece of wire screen or fencing over the hole while the armadillo is out, it won't be able to get back in. Securing three sides loosely would enable the animal to crawl out from under the mesh, but it wouldn't be able to re-enter very easily.
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