Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)

Size: 

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 

Diet: 

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: 

Armadillos are mainly found in the central and southern regions of the state. However, the animal’s range is continuing to expand so it can be found in other parts of the state. 

Habitat: 

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 Missouri: 

Protected. There is no hunting or trapping season.  

Armadillos that are causing damage may be shot or trapped year-round to prevent further damage. The Department of Conservation must be notified within 24 hours.  

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 

Trapping 

Trap the armadillos near their burrows or areas they frequent 

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 

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 

Traps cannot exceed an inside spread of 5 inches 

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: 

Shooting 

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

Mothballs have been used but have no effect on armadillos.  

For information on legal pesticides click the following link, https://agriculture.mo.gov/plants/pesticides/licensing.php 

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