Armadillos in Central Missouri

In my post The Armadillo Army, in 2012, I reported that nine-banded armadillos, native to Central America, had spread into southern Missouri and southern Kansas and were expanding northward across the Coastal Plain toward the mid Atlantic region.  While isolated sightings in mid Missouri have been reported since 2010, the armadillo population has increased significantly in recent years.

Over the past month, I have seen two dead armadillos along Interstate 70 (east and west of Columbia) and four others on roads within the city.  Mid summer is breeding season for nine-banded armadillos and this fact, combined with their nocturnal wanderings, may explain the recent spike in roadkills.

Not equipped to survive long periods of cold weather, armadillos along the I-70 corridor are surely pushing the northern limit of their range; indeed, we have had severe winter weather in recent years.  On the other hand, their continued northward expansion may be yet more evidence of our warming climate.  Perhaps another century of warming will take them into southern Canada!