Armadillo infestations in a garden can cause significant damage to both the plants and the soil. These burrowing animals can dig large holes and tunnels in search of food, which can disrupt the root systems of plants and make it difficult for them to access water and nutrients. In addition, armadillos can also eat fruits and vegetables, causing further damage to the garden.
Symptoms of armadillo infestations in a garden can include:
- Large holes or tunnels in the soil, which can be several inches wide and several feet deep
- Uprooted or damaged plants, including holes in leaves, broken stems, and missing roots
- Missing fruits or vegetables, as armadillos may eat or damage them
- Mounds of dirt or soil around the garden, as armadillos will often push soil out of their holes or tunnels
- Damage to lawns or other landscaping, as armadillos may dig holes or tunnels in search of grubs or other insects to eat
- Visible armadillo tracks or droppings around the garden
- Damage to underground irrigation or other garden infrastructure, as armadillos may dig through or damage these systems while searching for food
- Large areas of dead or dying plants, as armadillos can disrupt the root systems and make it difficult for the plants to access water and nutrients.
What is an Armadillo
Armadillos have the following characteristics:
- Small, burrowing mammals
- Covered in a protective armor of bony plates
- Typically have a cylindrical shape and a pointed snout
- Small eyes and ears
- Short, sharp claws that are well-suited for digging
- Typically dark brown or black in color
- Body length is around 20-27 inches
- Weigh around 8-17 pounds
- They have a triangular head and a long snout with a small mouth, which is located on the bottom of the snout.
- They have small eyes and ears, which are located near the top of the head.
- They have sharp claws on their front and back legs that are used for digging and burrowing.
- They have a hard, bony plate armor that covers their back, head, and legs.
- They have a long, scaly tail.
- They are quadrupedal, and move with a slow, lumbering gait.
Treating an Armadillo Infestation
- Chemical repellents: These are sprays or granules that contain unpleasant scents or tastes that armadillos find unappealing. Some examples include predator urine, hot pepper, or garlic oil. They should be applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and may need to be reapplied after rain or heavy watering. It’s important to test the repellent on a small area first to ensure it does not harm plants.
- Ultrasonic repellents: These devices emit high-frequency sounds that are supposed to be uncomfortable for armadillos and other burrowing animals. Some are battery-operated, while others need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. They should be placed in areas where armadillos are known to be active, and the volume should be adjusted as needed. It’s important to note that ultrasonic repellents may not be effective for all armadillos, and some may get used to the noise over time.
- Motion-activated sprinklers: These devices use a motion sensor to trigger a spray of water when an armadillo is detected. They should be placed in areas where armadillos are known to be active, and the sensitivity of the motion sensor should be adjusted as needed. It’s important to note that motion-activated sprinklers may also activate when other animals or even people are in the area.
- Fencing: A physical barrier around the perimeter of the garden can prevent armadillos from entering. Fencing should be buried at least 6 inches deep and extend at least 12 inches above the ground. It’s important to make sure the fencing is secure and there are no gaps or holes that armadillos can use to get through.
- Live traps: These traps are designed to capture armadillos without harming them, allowing them to be relocated to a different area. These traps typically have a one-way door that allows the armadillo to enter but not exit, and they should be checked at least once a day. It’s important to follow the trapping regulations of your local authorities when relocating armadillos.
- Lethal traps: These traps are designed to kill armadillos, but they should be used only as a last resort, and only with the permission of local authorities. Lethal traps can be dangerous for other animals and people and should be placed in areas where they will not be accidentally triggered.
- Eliminating food sources: Reducing the availability of grubs and other insects that armadillos like to eat can make the garden less attractive to them. This can be done by using pesticides, nematodes, or bait stations. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the appropriate amount of pesticide or bait to avoid harming other animals or people.
- Filling in holes and tunnels: Filling in armadillo holes and tunnels can make it more difficult for them to move around in the garden. This can be done by using soil, gravel, or other materials. It’s important to fill in the holes and tunnels completely and tamp down the soil or other materials to make them as level as possible.
- Making the area less hospitable: Adjusting the area to make it less hospitable to armadillos by removing shelter and hiding places. This can be done by removing brush, rocks, or other materials that armadillos might use for shelter. It’s important to keep the area around the garden as open and exposed as possible to make it less attractive to armadillos.