The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) primarily eats insects and their larvae as well as earthworms, spiders, and other invertebrates. Their habit of digging and rooting for food, in addition to excavating burrows to bear their young, can lead to conflicts with property owners.
There is no hunting or trapping season for the armadillo. However, the Wildlife Code of Missouri specifies that damage-causing armadillos may be trapped or shot to prevent further damage. Refer to 3 CSR 10-4.130 Owner May Protect Property; Public Safety of the Code for details and restrictions.
Armadillos have the ability to climb and burrow. Fencing or barriers may exclude them under certain conditions. A fence slanted outward at a 40-degree angle, with a portion buried, can be effective. You may want to compare the cost of exclusion to other forms of control and consider the value of the resources you want to protect before investing in fencing materials.
These are not recommended because none are known to be effective. Putting gas cartridges into burrows doesn’t work because armadillos are usually outside burrows. Mothballs contain toxic naphthalene, and the vapor is harmful to humans.
Body-grip traps are not allowed for dry-land sets in Missouri, and foothold traps are not effective for armadillos. Cage-type traps are effective and easy to use. Place a 10-by-12-by-32-inch trap along pathways leading to burrows or along fences or other barriers. For bait, suspend a nylon sack (such as the foot cut from an old pair of pantyhose) filled with overripe fruits, earthworms, or mealworms in the trap. Armadillos have poor eyesight, so enhance the trap’s effectiveness by using a 1-by-4- or 1-by-6-inch board at least 6 feet long as wings to help funnel the animal into the trap opening.
Armadillos are nocturnal and nomadic, so shooting is usually not practical. However, if the opportunity arises, you may shoot them with either a rimfire or shotgun loaded with No. 4- to BB-sized shot. Check with local authorities regarding use of firearms. If armadillos are unusually active in a golf course or cemetery, they can sometimes be spotlighted and shot at night. You must get permission to use an artificial light from your local county conservation agent.