Armadillo standing on green grass

Are Armadillos Dangerous?

Armadillos may be small, but their impact is big. These curious creatures have been spotted all across the globe as they explore far and wide for food. In some areas, armadillos are becoming more than just a nuisance.

These burrowing creatures can do severe damage to your yard if left unchecked. But no matter where you find them– whether it’s your garden or the other side of town — there’s a common question that usually follows: are armadillos dangerous?

Let’s explore some of their unique behaviors and see whether these outdoor pests are dangerous.

Key Pest Points:

•  Armadillos are not generally considered dangerous animals. They’re not known for attacking humans and would rather avoid people.

•  They can carry diseases, including leprosy. Although this is rare in the United States, it can still happen, so avoid eating armadillo meat and contaminated food or water.

•  Armadillos can cause damage to yards if they build their burrows near your property. Their digging habits can disrupt vegetation, destroy plants, and bring up unsightly mounds of dirt.

What are Armadillos and Where Do They Live?

Armadillos are burrowing animals that belong to the order Cingulata. Their armor-like shells protect them from predators, and their sharp claws help them dig quickly through the soil for food.

Armadillos are an interesting species found in North and South America, with a large population roaming across the southern United States. These nocturnal creatures feed on insects and other small critters during their nighttime adventures.

Are Armadillos Dangerous to Dogs and Humans?

At first glance, armadillos may appear intimidating due to their armor-like shells and sharp claws. However, these animals are generally harmless to humans, dogs and other pets.

They are shy and will run away if approached or threatened, then hide in their burrows until the danger has passed. So, while armadillos aren’t aggressive towards pets and people, they can still be a potential nuisance.

Southern three-banded armadillo curled up in a ball.

How Do Armadillos Defend Themselves?

These creatures have unique defenses that allow them to protect themselves from predators. Here are a few of their most impressive abilities:

  • Claws and shell: As mentioned, armadillos have hard shells and sharp claws that can act like armor against predators.
  • Fleeing: Armadillos are adept at running away from potential predators and can even jump into the water to evade capture.
  • Hiding in burrows: Armadillos use their sharp claws to burrow deep into the ground quickly. They can stay in these underground hideaways until the threat passes by.

These unique defensive abilities make armadillos relatively safe to be around, especially if they know you’re not a threat. However, be careful when dealing with these animals, as they can still be carriers of diseases.

Do Armadillos Carry Diseases or Parasites?

Armadillos can potentially carry diseases or parasites that are hazardous to humans. Here are some of the most common:

  • Leprosy: is a bacterial infection that can spread through contaminated water or by eating the meat of the armadillo.
  • Salmonellosis: is a food-borne sickness that can cause fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. This can also be spread through the armadillo’s feces.
  • Tapeworm is a parasitic infection that can be transmitted through feces or contact with contaminated soil.

If you spot an armadillo in your yard, keep your distance. Be sure to wear gloves when handling anything that may have come into contact with an armadillo, including soil or debris.

Are Armadillos Destructive To Your Property?

Armadillos can be incredibly destructive to your yard. Let’s take a look at some of the ways they can ruin your landscape:

  • Burrowing: They use their sharp claws to dig burrows and tunnels, which can seriously damage lawns and landscaping.
  • Eating Plants: Armadillos can eat plants like flowers, fruits, vegetables, and other vegetation.
  • Destruction of Property: They can damage garden hoses, sprinkler systems, and other outdoor fixtures.

Knowing the potential damage armadillos can cause to your yard will allow you to take the necessary steps to prevent them from inhabiting it.

Armadillo walking sideways on paved road.

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Armadillos in Your Garden 

The best way to protect your property from armadillos is to take preventive measures. Here are some of the most effective ways to keep them away from your yard:

  • Remove food sources: Armadillos are scavengers, so ensure your garden is not attractive to these pesky pests. Keep pet food indoors and away from prying eyes (and mouths), pick up any fallen fruit that might tempt the critters, and don’t forget to seal garbage cans or compost piles containing potential snacks.
  • Eliminate hiding spots: Remove any logs, rocks, woodpiles, or other debris that armadillos can use to hide in. Ensure the grass is kept short, so it cannot hide in tall vegetation.
  • Install fencing: Install a fence around your garden to keep armadillos out. Ensure the fencing is at least two feet high and buried six inches into the ground to make it harder for them to dig underneath.
  • Trapping: Purchasing a trap is a great way to humanely remove the animal from your property. Humane armadillo traps will allow you to catch and relocate them far away without hurting or harming them.
  • Call in a professional: If you have an armadillo problem that is particularly difficult to manage, it may be best to call a professional wildlife removal company. They can assess your situation and recommend the best course of action.

Armadillos may look intimidating but can be safely avoided with proper prevention methods. The same tips apply whether you’re keeping squirrels away from your gardentrapping an opossum, or trying to get rid of raccoons naturally. With effort and diligence, you can keep your garden safe from armadillos.


Is it safe to pick up an armadillo?

For your safety, it is best to avoid contact with armadillos. Even if you are wearing gloves, it is not recommended to pick up an armadillo since they can spread zoonotic disease or parasites.

What attracts armadillos to your yard?

Armadillos are attracted to areas with plenty of food and shelter. They may be drawn to gardens with ripe fruits and vegetables or piles of debris where they can hide. Removing these potential food sources and hiding spots can help keep armadillos away from your property.

What time of day do armadillos come out?

Armadillos are nocturnal animals. They’re most active in the cool pre-dawn hours of summer (2:00 am to 5:00 am), while they prefer snoozing away during much of daylight.

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