Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How to Build a Solar Powered Armadillo Fence

As I discussed in my last post, armadillos are hard to discourage!
And their bumbling hunt for grubs and worms can really cause significant garden damage. 
Our local armadillos were not slowed down by repellent sprays or heavy sprinklings of cayenne pepper, and we did not want to take up a new hobby learning to trap and release them.

So, we followed the example set by most of our neighbors and put in an electric armadillo fence.

We had really hoped to avoid outlining our entire yard in wire and bright yellow support posts, but it's that or dead plants! 
 Here is is a small tour of the new defenses...

Above is the front bed which runs the length of the property between the retaining wall and the street.
My husband carefully followed the curve of the garden edging rather than placing the supports out in the lawn. As long as the plants are reasonably well trimmed they will not hinder the current.

These yellow supports for the two wires are held in place by three foot lengths of 3/8 inch re-bar. 

Walking west, we come to the end of the wall and the swale which drains towards the lake.

A different type of wire support is used along the wall.

And again along the wrought iron fence.

At the end of the property, catching full sunlight off the lake, is the small solar panel which powers the armadillo fence (output: .07 joules for up to 3 miles of fencing).

The white lines on the face of the solar panel depict the shape of our fence. It's open across the back where the property is bordered by the lake.

Nearby, the current is grounded by three copper rods, each eight foot in length, and sunk deep in the earth.

Above is a photo of one of the buried copper rods.
Now going back to the front garden and walking toward the driveway, we come to the spring coil.

There is a simple hook at each end of the driveway coil. Unhooking the coil breaks the circuit.

On the other side of the driveway the armadillo fencing continues, following the property line back down to the lake again on the east side of our lot.

As long as humans are wearing shoes, they are grounded and cannot feel anything if they touch the wire when the circuit is running.

Our dog, Kye, is not able to come in contact with the wires at all in our back yard because they are mounted on the outside of our fence. Gates prevent him from getting into the front gardens unless we are with him.

Kye did touch his nose to a neighbors fence once - he jumped about a foot, and then avoided it.

We hook the fence up only at night or when we are away from the lake.
 Armadillos seem to forage from dusk till dawn. We have never spotted one during the day.
So, fingers crossed that we've solved that problem!

The crepe myrtles are blooming, so I think I'll end the fence story with bright pink blossoms!
Happy gardening out there!


  1. Oh my goodness, Suzanne! What an undertaking that is. And I thought putting in an irrigation system was a big deal!!! So, you have to unhook this if a car comes into the driveway in the evening? Do let us know how it all works!!!

  2. Wow, what a hassle! Can you spray paint the yellow plastic dark green or black to become less noticeable? Your crepe myrtles are a very pretty pink. They have been beautiful all summer in the Southeast.

    1. Hi Cindy,
      We went back and forth on that bright color, but decided to keep it so that the guys who mow, and those of us who weed etc. will remember there are wires in place. I've already tripped over them once - in the garden meditation zone, just weeding away - and whoops! No damage, but those wires are as invisible as trip wire alarms.