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How Do You Trap An Armadillo?



11.04.2006

- Do not use any bait. Armadillos dig for their food, and they won't eat surface food.

- Set a large steel cage trap, at least 30x10x12, on the armadillo path, or on or near the burrow. It's an art, and it's hard to describe how to do it just right. Also, make sure the trap does not shake or wobble, and that you've lined the bottom of the trap with dirt and debris.

- To help, you can set barriers that help direct the animal into the trap, and set the trap along edges, such as the edge of your house or a fence.

- Be sure the check the trap every morning, and never leave an armadillo suffering in a trap for a long time. Drive the animal at least 5 miles away and relocate it.

"How do you trap armadillos?" Many an exasperating phone conversation starts with this question on the other end of the line. Even though I have gone to great lengths to make it explicitly clear that I simply do not want every yokel across the country calling me with nuisance wildlife questions - after all, when you call me, I WILL be engaged in one of the following activities: sleeping, driving, working on a roof, or working in an attic - seriously, these are the only things I do. Sometimes I eat or type on my computer.

Okay then, so I'm doing one of these things, when I get the call: an uneducated voice from Alabama starts off, "How do I trap an armadillo?". This is the second most common type of rude call that I get, after requests to identify snakes based on vague descriptions. Well, I'll tell you here and now, how to trap armadillos, so you don't call me mid-ladder-climb. (They always wait until I'm up on a ladder before they call). The advice is, hire a nuisance wildlife trapper. I know that's crummy advice, but my advice for a toothache is to visit the dentist. Professionals exist for a reason, and in most cases I hope, know what they're doing. I don't know why so many people seem to think they can handle their wildlife issues on their own. I mean, some stuff you can do yourself. I cut my own hair, mow my own lawn, do my own accounting, represent myself in court, but if a leak springs under my house, I hire a plumber. It's the same with most wildlife control. You don't understand wildlife, you're not inoculated against rabies, you do not have the scads of professional equipment or years of training necessary to properly handle wildlife issues. Hire a pro!

Do it yourself: Visit my How To Get Rid of Armadillos page for tips and advice.
Get professional help: Visit my Nationwide Pro Directory of wildlife removal experts.


Enough lecture. Here's the deal with armadillo trapping. Armadillos will rarely eat food on the surface of the ground. In my years of experience with and observation of the animal, I'd say that they never eat any food unless they dig it up out of dirt first. They dig for earthworms and grubs and other invertebrates. So first of all there's no bait that you can put into a trap in order to lure in armadillos. Any bait that you do use will more likely lure in a different non-target animal, such as a raccoon or opossum. So now that you know you can't bait for armadillos, you may wonder how to get them in a trap. The key is in the placement. Well, that's one of many key points, but placement is paramount. Armadillos are not bright animals, and they do not hesitate to crash through brush and debris. They don't have any reservations about a large steel cage box, and will happily meander right into it, unlike a cautious raccoon. Armadillos have lousy eyesight, and blunder along through life, bumping into and through this and that. So the secret is in knowing where an armadillo will walk, and putting the trap there. Of course, in order to increase the odds, I find the top several areas that the armadillo will walk, and set traps at all of them. So if you, Mr or Mrs. Homeowner has only one trap, which is likely true, then your odds of success will be less. Your odds will also be low, because you'll just plain do a crappy job of setting the trap. I've been to so many homes at which the homeowner tried to do it on his own, and I arrived to find the wrong trap, the wrong size, set in the wrong place, the wrong way, with a myriad of other errors. Basically, the trap must be large and strong enough, and it must be stable, and facing the right way, and the bottom of the trap flush on the ground with soft dirt lining, and the pan tension set right, and blah blah blah. Then there's the whole other matter of directing the armadillo into the trap with directional barriers, and so on and so forth. So try to trap it yourself, then break the law by doing the wrong thing with the animal once you have it: (another common call I get - I just trapped a ______. Now what do I do with it?). So seriously, either leave the animal alone, or hire a pro to get it done right. But please, please don't call me and ask for directions on how to do it yourself. I always answer my phone, because my business would fail otherwise, but I will, I guarantee you, be sweating my ass off in an attic at the moment you call.

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