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Armadillo - Control
Q: I have an armadillo that thinks he’s a bulldozer in my back yard. He (I guess it’s a “he”) has plowed up my flower beds and ruined parts of my lawn. We have a trap but he won’t go in it. How do you control armadillos?
A: Until a few years ago, I had never heard of armadillos in Georgia. Now there are groundhogs in the north part of the state, coyotes in the west and your “possums on the half-shell” moving up from Florida. All are a bother but not yet quite as complaint-generating as our native deer.

Armadillos eat soil-dwelling insects, like grubs and earthworms, so that’s why they favor flower beds and lawns. You have discovered how vigorously they can root through the soil looking for a meal.

Legend has it that when animal brains were being distributed, Armadillo and Possum were playing together somewhere else. Their mental acumen has not improved over the years and you can take advantage of that.

Your first task is to find their path. Armadillos typically travel a single route going from their den in nearby undergrowth to their feeding grounds. Look for beaten-down grass going from the edge of your property to your damaged areas.

Next, purchase a one hundred foot roll of twenty-four inch wide chicken wire and some short wooden stakes. Drive the stakes into the ground and staple the wire to them so that you end up with a long funnel. The two sides of the funnel at the wide end should parallel the path from the woods, a few feet on either side of it. The narrow end of the funnel should terminate at the mouth of your trap. When Mr. Armadillo next snuffles into your yard, never looking up, he will be gently guided by the wire funnel into your metal prison. I’ll leave it up to you what to do with him afterwards.

Texas armadillo control

Missouri armadillo control

Georgia Armadillo FAQ

Evaluation of Baits for Armadillo Control none worked!
July 25 2002
Q: I saw a dead armadillo on the East-West Connector in Cobb County in early July. I stopped to make sure it was real because I heard you talking about them on your radio show. I thought you might like to know they are really making their way north.

A: I did a double take, just like you, while driving on the loop highway around Athens last month. Sure enough, armadillos are in Clarke County now! A caller this spring said he’d seen them in Floyd County as well. Add this “possum on the half shell” to the nuisance animal list that includes deer, squirrels and chipmunks. They don’t eat plants, only vigorously rooting through flower beds to find grubs and worms.

Fortunately, armadillos are not terribly hard to capture in a live trap. One source says the best bait is a dozen worms placed in a cut-off foot section of discarded pantyhose. A gradually narrowing drift fence made from two-foot high chicken wire will guide the armored creature to the trap.


Armadillo Trap

Armadillos Outwitted!!
by Harold Baker

Some people think armadillos are stupid but they simply have extremely poor eyesight. If they are devastating your rose garden, as they were ours,you will find them to be a formidable adversary. Each night they would root deep trenches through the mulch looking for worms and on occasion would dig 10-inch diameter burrows 3 to 10 ft. long into the beds. We tried every repellent we had ever heard of with no success.

We then tried trapping them, using worms as bait. One night one fell for our trap, but we had not counted on his cunning and strength. He apparently worked his way into a corner of the trap, braced himself, and by arching his back applied so much pressure to the heavy hardware cloth trap that he was able to break the wires and escape. We obtained a stronger trap and tried and tried, but the armadillos were too smart to ever again enter a trap. They would root all around the trap but would never go inside.

Just when I was about to concede that the armadillos were smarter than I was, I had a flash of inspiration that solved the problem completely. I purchased the materials for an electric pet fence. This is similar to the electric fences for horses and cows but it operates on lower amperage so it will jolt, but not kill, dogs and cats.

For posts I used 1/2" PVC pipe cut into 18" lengths with half the length going into the ground. I used bare aluminum wire and secured it to the posts by drilling a hole though each PVC pipe and inserting a cotter pin. The wire was run through the head or eye of the cotter pin. I ran the wire 3 inches above the level of the ground and had plans to run a second wire 4 inches above the first if needed. I was having a certain amount of damage by rabbits and assumed they would simply jump over the 3" high wire.

I put the pet fence transformer in a weatherproof enclosure next to my outside electrical breaker panel and buried an insulated wire from the transformer to the bare aluminum wire fence. The fence around one bed was then connected to the fence around the next bed by another insulated wire buried in the ground. I didn’t want to shock myself, and I was afraid that sooner or later I would forget to turn the power on at night and off in the morning, so I installed a photocell in the power supply to the transformer to perform this function for me. This worked out great. To test the system I would temporally put a piece of black electrical tape over the photocell eye to simulate darkness, then use my voltmeter to check between the fence and the ground. The meter will just show a momentary spike.

From the day I put the pet fence in service all nighttime pest activity in our rose beds ceased. No more armadillo tunneling and no more rabbit chewing. However, the armadillos were still in the neighborhood and made repeated attempts to establish a burrow beneath my next-door neighbor’s air conditioner, which was only a few feet from our rose beds. Then one morning I found about eight or ten feet of the pet fence ripped up and some of the PVC posts pulled completely out of the ground. Apparently an armadillo had put his head beneath the fence and when the wire touched the back of his neck he reared up and tore up the fence.

I repaired the fence but it really wasn’t necessary. The armadillos were intelligent enough that they knew they weren’t welcome in the neighborhood and left. All activity at my neighbors ceased immediately after the torn up fence episode. I waited three or four weeks, then I left the power to the fence turned off at night for another three weeks with no sign of renewed activity. I then took the fence down so I wouldn’t have to step over it. The fence has been down over a year now but the armadillos have never came back into our rose beds. I still have the materials to reinstall the fence if necessary.

The pet fence was not expensive, and it completely cleared up a frustrating, and apparently unsolvable problem. If you are bothered with this lovable pest I hope and truly believe it will work for you as well as it did for us.


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