Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to Catch an Armadillo

When we first commenced to trap armadillos that were digging in my flower beds and tunneling under buildings, I read all the expert articles. Now that we've caught and dispatched dozens, I think I know how.

Buffy inspecting today's catch.

  • We need a good strong trap.  A big armadillo can escape from a trap like the one in the picture unless it's reinforced. We used a metal fence post  and some stronger hardware after the manufacturer sent us more pieces to replace the broken ones. The new pieces weren't strong enough, either.  
  • We don't need bait. I've read of baits from tuna fish to banana peels. An armadillo will go into an empty trap.
  • We don't need to build an elaborate 'runway' to funnel him into the trap. Just set the trap where you think he's going to be traveling. Sometimes I use a couple of 8" boards and a few bricks to direct his travel, but it really isn't necessarry, as evidenced by our catch rate.

After we saw evidence of digging in the Upper Garden, I set the trap in the center grass path on Sunday evening, over toward the right edge of the path. Armadillos will usually follow a bed edge, digging as they go. Monday evening, He-who-mows suggested that we give him one more night, since he dug in the paths on either side the night before. Maybe he'd come up the center path.

Success!

Your armadillos' mileage may vary.  
 
 
Added photos of the modified Hav a Hart trap. 9/3/13.
No armadillo has escaped since the hinge apparatus was made stronger with
a yellow fence post and the little latch at the top was also modified.

 
This is the only trap we've ever used, but it took a lot of abuse and a couple armadillos escaped before it was beefed up to take a beating.



9 comments:

  1. My girls catch them by their tails! LOL

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  2. Ewww! I wouldn't want to touch one of the nasty things. I've heard they carry Hansen's Disease. Even if that isn't true, they are stinky creatures.

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  3. Congrats on your catch rate! Armadillos are some of the worst animals to try to share a garden with - truly difficult to deal with.

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  4. I haven't seen an armadillo in ages. I used to live in Florida and they're everywhere. At one of my summer jobs I remember looking out the window and just seeing them walking around the shrubs and gardens on the property in broad daylight, totally unafraid. Looks like your pup is a good assistant, supervising the work!

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  5. I may have to give this a try if we get as many as we had a few years ago. Thankfully, the drought last year really decreased their numbers here. Thanks for the tips. Now, don't be releasing him where he'll find my place! ;)

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  6. Well, I'm glad this is one pest I don't have to worry about -- no armadillo population in Maine! Although, after getting up yesterday morning to find almost all the phlox gone from my garden, with stems left broken and completely stripped of foliage, I might be willing to trade woodchuck for armadillo. I guess we all have our own regional crosses to bear. Your trapping technique looks very effective. What do you do with them after you trap them? -Jean

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  7. There is no point in relocating an armadillo; nobody wants them and one dropped off at the other end of our property would beat us home.
    They go to a special 'pet semetery' and become buzzard food. Vultures have to eat, too.

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  8. You mention traps that fail. What brand traps have you used that failed? What traps you you use that don't fail? I catch them in 7" and 12" wire mesh traps, but have had two 12" traps busted, and one 7" trap very nearly busted. I think the smaller ones are stronger. However, I often find the smaller traps tripped and wonder if the larger armadillos aren't able to fit inside - so looking for a really strong larger trap. I have also thought of putting galvanized sheet on the bottom so they can't get their claws into the mesh to push from against the door. BTW, I have great success without bait and with minimal "fencing" or funneling by placing them in their active areas.

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  9. Southern Guy, the only trap we've used is Hav a Hart. The catch broke and the replacement was no better.

    He-Who-Mows modified the trap -- I guess this is a 12" trap -- with a new top latch and a stronger hinge piece made of an electric fence post so really big armadillos can't force the trapdoor open.

    I am adding a couple photos of the modified pieces to the end of the post so you can see.

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I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.



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