Pest Guides

What Smells Do Armadillos Hate?

What Smells Do Armadillos Hate?

Armadillos are beautiful and intriguing creatures, so occasionally spotting an armadillo in our backyard didn’t alarm us. That was until they started digging holes all over the place.

Being someone who spends a lot of time and energy maintaining a lush and beautiful yard, I knew that something had to be done.

Upon learning more about armadillos, especially their exceptional sense of smell, I used various smells to repel them. Alongside some stern preventive measures, using sharp scents to deter armadillos proved highly successful.


Armadillos use their sense of smell to identify food and threats. As a result, they keep away from overwhelming scents, including white vinegar, pepper, garlic, peppermint, pine, castor oil, Epsom salts, predator urine, and an array of essential oils.

Let’s learn what armadillos are, common signs of their activity, scents that drive them away, and how to discourage them from foraging in yards.

What Are Armadillos?

What Are Armadillos?

Armadillos can be found across the United States, with the earliest sightings recorded in Texas in the 1850s.

These nocturnal operators belonging to the family Dasypodidae cause millions of dollars worth of property damages every year as they wander into yards and gardens, foraging for worms and grubs and burrowing dens.

Armadillos have an excellent sense of smell, with a significant part of their brain dedicated to processing scent-related information.

As a result, using aromas armadillos dislike is one of the most effective ways of keeping them away from yards and gardens.

Common Signs of Armadillo Activity

Common Signs Of Armadillo Activity

One of the first things to do when keeping armadillos away from a yard is to confirm their presence since many other pests also cause damage through digging and burrowing.

Here are some signs of armadillos frequenting a property:

  • Shallow Holes & Burrows
  • Uprooted Plants
  • Burrows Under or Near Fences, Rock Piles, and Tree Stumps
  • Cracked Sidewalks and Driveways
  • Damaged Pipes or Wires

Characteristics of Armadillo Holes

Characteristics Of Armadillo Holes

Armadillos dig shallow holes when searching for worms and grubs.

These holes are generally one to three inches deep and three to five inches wide.

They also dig burrows to sleep in.

Armadillo burrows are usually narrow and connect multiple openings at different locations, often leading to expensive property damage.

Scents That Repel Armadillos

Scents That Repel Armadillos

According to a recent study, armadillo’s sense of smell is so strong that they can locate food solely using its smell without help from other senses.

Similarly, they use their sense of smell to identify threats quickly.

his exceptional trait can keep armadillos away from various scents they find repulsive.

White Vinegar

White Vinegar

Armadillos do not like the pungent smell of white vinegar.

Combine white vinegar and water to a ratio of 1:2 to create an organic armadillo repellant.

I sprayed the mixture in the yard and around its perimeter to deter armadillos.



Many pests, including armadillos, find the smell of pepper irritating.

Sprinkle pepper powder in areas frequented by armadillos.

Using pepper powder to create a perimeter they will avoid crossing is also an excellent option.



Armadillos find the pungent smell of garlic overwhelming, making it an excellent way to protect lawns and gardens from them.

Sprinkling garlic powder around the garden and growing garlic around its perimeter can help maintain an armadillo-free garden.



Peppermint is one of the best natural pest repellants, and it works against armadillos too.

Plant peppermint along garden fences or areas frequented by armadillos, or use peppermint essential oil to make a homemade pest-repellant spray when using scents to deter them.


Growing peppermint or spraying it in gardens also deters ants, aphids, beetles, fleas, flies, lice, mice, moths, and rats.



Inhaling the deep aroma of pine is relaxing to humans.

The alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, and limonene in pine create a scent so overwhelming to armadillos, temporarily disabling them from identifying nearby food sources and predators. As a result, armadillos prefer to keep a safe distance from pine.

I started using pine straws for gardening instead of mulch, which helped me keep armadillos away from my yard.

Furthermore, mixing pine essential oil with water and spraying it around the yard creates an armadillo-free zone.

Essential Oils

Essential Oils

In addition to their therapeutic benefits, many essential oils possess excellent pest-repelling abilities.

Here’s a list of essential oils that effectively deters armadillos:

  • Catnip
  • Cinnamon
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Nootka Tree
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Ylang Ylang

Mix 10 to 15 drops of essential oil with a cup of water to create a natural armadillo-repellant.

Spray this mix around the garden or soak cotton balls or rags in it and place them in armadillo burrows and other areas frequented by armadillos to repel them.

Castor Oil

Castor Oil

Combine a gallon of water with half a gallon of castor oil.

Add a quarter gallon of dish soap and mix well, creating a concoction that emits a smell armadillos find repulsive.

Pour it around the garden to keep armadillos away.

Epsom Salts

Epsom Salts

The penetrating scent of magnesium sulfate in Epsom salts overwhelms armadillos, disabling them from using their sense of smell to locate food.

As a result, armadillos usually stay away from yards where Epsom salt has been sprinkled.


Using Epsom salts in yards is safe for plants and even helps them thrive by adding magnesium to the soil.

Predator Urine

Predator Urine

Armadillo’s excellent sense of smell helps them avoid predators such as dogs, wolves, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and bears.

Scattering yards and gardens with predator urine alarms armadillos, usually causing them to flee.

I found many predator urine products, including granules, that are easy to handle.

How To Stop Attracting Armadillos Into Yards

How To Stop Attracting Armadillos Into Yards

In addition to using various smells to repel armadillos, I employed multiple techniques to stop attracting them into our yard. They proved highly effective, protecting our yard from these notorious lawn destroyers.

Remove Food Sources

Remove Food Sources

Armadillos usually wander into properties foraging for their favorite meals: grubs, termites, insects, fruits, and vegetables. Removing these food sources from yards can make them less enticing for armadillos.

Introducing beneficial nematodes to the soil is an excellent eco-friendly way to keep grubs under control, reducing the likelihood of armadillos digging holes in lawns and yards.

I also removed tall bushes and shrubs and mowed the grass to control insects armadillos feast on while painting the picture of a “barren” land for their favorite food.

I also recommend maintaining home gardens, removing any low-hanging or fallen fruits, and establishing perimeters around vegetables using wire mesh to stop attracting armadillos.

Remove Hiding and Nesting Places

Remove Hiding And Nesting Places

Armadillos often invade yards in search of shelter. Therefore, removing any potential hiding and nesting places helps keep armadillos away from properties.

Remove bushy trees, shrubs, fallen trees, tree stumps, rock piles, and other debris that might temporarily shelter them.

Search for burrows and tightly fill them using dirt or gravel to prevent armadillos from causing expensive property damage.

It’s also wise to sprinkle some pepper, pine straws, castor oil, or Epsom salts into armadillo burrows before filling them.

Motion-Activated Sprinklers and Lights

Motion-Activated Sprinklers And Lights

Despite the misconception that armadillos prefer dry environments, they prefer living in wooded surroundings close to water. Settings high in moisture have an abundance of food that armadillos love, especially grubs and other insects.

However, they prefer to avoid getting themselves wet, and a splash of water is enough for them to run for cover. As a result, installing motion-activated sprinklers in yards is a fantastic way to scare away armadillos.

I installed sprinklers in areas where armadillos were likeliest to forage for food, including the lawn, flower beds, and garden patches.

Motion-activated lights are also an excellent alternative since armadillos are nocturnal animals who prefer to operate in the darkness.

Dog Patrol

Dog Patrol

Armadillos have adapted to human expansion to survive in urban environments, including residential areas, railways, roads, and bridges. However, they struggle with the human-canine bond, with canines embedded in their brains and senses as predators.

A recent study reveals that armadillos, being versatile and brilliant creatures, have adjusted their behavior based on human activity, or in this case, human pets.

Armadillos seem to avoid domestic dogs by pushing their operating hours far later into the night or limiting their foraging to narrow windows.

As a result, outside dogs who are alert during the night can keep armadillos away.

Unfortunately, our Golden Retriever is a heavy sleeper who prefers to sleep in the living room. So I couldn’t get his help to scare armadillos away.

Improve Fencing

Improve Fencing

Failure to deter armadillos by removing food sources and shelter and using armadillo-repellant smells calls for sterner measures. Improving fencing is a straightforward solution under such circumstances.

In-ground fences, extending underground, create an effective physical barrier against burrowing pests, including armadillos.

If installing in-ground fences around a property is too expensive, they can be used to protect areas containing armadillo food sources such as lawns, flower beds, and vegetable patches.

In-ground wire fencing must extend beyond 18 inches underneath the soil with an outward slant of 40 degrees to be effective against armadillos. The fences must also be a foot high to prevent them from climbing over.

Additionally, laying an electric wire eliminates the possibility of armadillos climbing over fences. However, avoid using electric fencing in residential areas since it puts children and pets in danger.

Humane Trapping and Removal

Humane Trapping And Removal

Persistent armadillo infestations require humane trapping and removal, controlling the armadillo population in residential areas, and preventing property damage.

I highly recommend humane trapping methods using bait, usually available at pet stores. Here are some of the best baits to capture armadillos:

  • Pond Worms
  • Red Worms
  • Wigglers
  • Crickets

10x10x32 inches is the best cage size for trapping armadillos. It should have openings at both ends with 1×4 or 1×6-inch “wrings” that are six feet long to funnel the animal into the cage.


Check state wildlife laws to ensure the legality of catching and releasing armadillos. Armadillos can cause severe damage when captured or provoked. Therefore, contact a local wildlife removal service to relocate the captured animal.

Contact a Pest Control Service

Contact A Pest Control Service

Fortunately, repelling the armadillos threatening to destroy my yard was within my control. However, I understand it may only be the case with some.

Seeking the help of a professional pest control company is the most convenient and cost-effective option for more persistent armadillo infestations.

Professional pest control technicians have a lot of tricks up their sleeves to effectively control armadillo populations and prevent them from causing property damage.

Most pest control companies offer customized solutions aligning with the needs and concerns of their clients, making repelling armadillos more straightforward.


What started as rare sightings of truly intriguing creatures turned out to be a nuisance when armadillos decided to dig through my yard in search of five-star meals.

I quickly sprang to action, taking a range of preventive steps, including using various scents that armadillos find overwhelming and irritating, which proved highly effective alongside making my yard less attractive for foraging or fleeing armadillos.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Thing To Get Rid of Armadillos?

The pungent smells of white vinegar, pepper, garlic, peppermint, pine, catnip, cinnamon, lavender, lemon, Nootka tree, Ylang Ylang, castor oil, Epsom salts, and predator urine repel armadillos.

Removing food sources, hiding places, in-ground fencing, motion-activated sprinklers, the presence of dogs, and trapping and removal also helps eliminate armadillos effectively.

Can You Scare an Armadillo?

Yes, armadillos prefer to operate away from the sight of humans and predators, including domestic dogs.

Additionally, motion-activated sprinklers and lights also scare them away.

Does Peppermint Repel Armadillos?

Yes, armadillos find the smell of peppermint irritating.

As a result, growing peppermint or spraying yards with a homemade armadillo-repellant spray using peppermint essential oil repels armadillos.

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