News: Armadillos Are Headed North!

Written by Madalyn Eglian
Published: November 23, 2021

Armadillos are headed north! Due to climate change and warming climates, the nine-banded armadillo is moving north. 

The Weather Channel reported on November 22nd, 2021, that armadillos can now be found in 15 states. Why? As the weather warms, armadillos’ viable habitat is expanding. This means that Northern states are becoming hospitable to the armoured critters. 

This isn’t the first time armadillos have moved with the changing climate, though. The animal has a long history of expansion.

History of Armadillo Expansion

The first recorded evidence of armadillo expansion is dated in 1850. It was at this time the first animals were found in North America after previously only living in South America. Then, the armadillos began to move into Mexico and eventually the United States

Texas became known as the armadillo’s homestate and the animal became a symbolic emblem to the Texas people. Armadillos were also introduced in Florida and have also been moving north from their territories there.  In 1997, armadillos moved into Kansas and Missouri.

Now, the armadillo is on the move again. Virginia is the furthest north that armadillos have been spotted, but with the warming climates and their expansion history, the armadillos will probably keep moving. 

What Keeps Armadillos Moving?

Armadillos are extremely resourceful animals so it is less of a question of what keeps them moving and more of a question of why they aren’t deterred. 

Despite the many waterways crisscrossing armadillo territory, armadillos are undeterred. The animals simply hold their breath and walk across the bottom of the riverbed. For larger rivers, the armadillo inflates his stomach and floats across the river to the other bank.

The only thing that really deters armadillos is the winter. Armadillos are not good at adapting to colder climates, despite their move north. If too cold, the animal will freeze in his burrow or starve from lack of foraging ability.

The armadillo is also not welcome in some states. None as a “digger”, armadillos often dig up yards, fields, and more. They have been placed on some states’ “invasive species” lists.