Will a Pellet Gun Kill an Armadillo | Explained

Armadillos are fascinating creatures that are native to the Americas. They are known for their unique armor-like shell and their ability to roll into a ball when threatened. These small mammals are mostly found in warm and humid regions, and they are known to be excellent diggers. However, their digging habits can often cause problems for homeowners and gardeners, leading to the question: will a pellet gun kill an armadillo?

Will a Pellet Gun Kill an Armadillo

To answer the question, can you kill an armadillo with a pellet gun? We must first understand the behavior and anatomy of armadillos. Armadillos have a tough outer shell made of bony plates called scutes. This shell protects them from predators and also serves as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened. They also have sharp claws that they use for digging and foraging for food. Armadillos are primarily insectivores, but they also eat small reptiles, amphibians, and plants.

Dangers of Armadillos

While armadillos may seem harmless, they cause quite a bit of damage. Their digging habits can destroy gardens and lawns and even damage the foundation of buildings. They are also known to carry diseases such as leprosy, which can be transmitted to humans through contact with their feces. This is why many homeowners and gardeners consider armadillos to be pests and want to get rid of them.

Pellet Guns and Their Effectiveness

Pellet guns, also known as air guns, are a popular choice for pest control. They use compressed air to shoot small pellets at high speeds, making them a non-lethal option for getting rid of pests. However, their effectiveness in killing armadillos is often questioned.

The answer to whether a pellet gun will kill an armadillo is not a simple yes or no. It depends on various factors, such as the type of pellet gun, the distance from which it is shot, and the placement of the shot. Pellet guns come in different sizes and velocities, and some are more powerful than others. A higher-velocity pellet gun will have a better chance of penetrating the armadillo’s tough shell and causing fatal damage.

Shot Placement is Key

Even with a powerful pellet gun, shot placement is crucial when it comes to killing an armadillo. The most effective place to shoot an armadillo is in the head or neck area. This is where the shell is thinnest, and a well-placed shot can penetrate and cause fatal damage to the brain or spinal cord. However, this requires a skilled shooter and may not be possible for everyone.

Another option is to shoot the armadillo in the lungs or heart area. This will cause internal bleeding and eventually lead to death. However, this method may not be as effective as a head or neck shot, and the armadillo may still be able to escape and die elsewhere.

Legal Considerations

Before attempting to kill an armadillo with a pellet gun, it is essential to check your local laws and regulations. In some states, it is illegal to kill armadillos, and in others, a permit may be required. It is also important to consider the safety of those around you and make sure that you are shooting in a safe direction.

Legal Considerations

Alternatives to Killing Armadillos

If you are not comfortable with using a pellet gun to kill armadillos, there are other alternatives available. One option is to use live traps to catch the armadillo and then release it in a more suitable location. However, this may not be effective in the long term as armadillos are known to have a strong homing instinct and may return to the same area.

Another option is to use deterrents such as motion-activated sprinklers or ultrasonic devices. These can help to keep armadillos away from your property without causing them harm.


In conclusion, a pellet gun can potentially kill an armadillo, but it is not a guaranteed method. Shot placement and the power of the pellet gun are crucial factors in determining its effectiveness. It is also important to consider the legal and ethical implications of killing armadillos and to explore alternative methods of pest control. If you do decide to use a pellet gun, make sure to do so safely and responsibly.