Found an armadillo in Kansas City? That's becoming a more regular phenomenon
The nine-banded armadillo, which is native to Central and South America, has been migrating north for decades as average temperatures rise. And because of the mild winter Kansas City just had, it’s likely residents in the metro will notice more armadillos than usual in the coming months.
If you live in the Kansas City metro, you may have had the unusual experience of spotting an armadillo — possibly as roadkill.
Originally native to Central and South America, thenine-banded armadillo has been migrating north for decades, and has even been spotted as far north as the Missouri-Iowa border.
And given the mild winter Kansas City just experienced, chances are residents will be seeing a lot more armadillos through the summer.
“We only had a few really cold weeks, and armadillos are a fair weather animal. When it’s warmer out, they can move a lot more often and move into some newer areas,” Nate Bowersock, a biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation, said on KCUR’s Up To Date.
As climate change causes average temperatures to increase each year, these singular-looking mammals’ habitat has expanded further north.
Is this a problem? According to Bowersock, that depends who you ask. Armadillos, ecologically speaking, have no negative impact on the environment. They actually have a positive impact.
“They don’t compete with other animals for resources, and they're really good burrowers, so they can create more habitat cover for burrowing animals,” he said.
But if you’re a rancher or home gardener, you may feel differently.
“We do see ranchers having issues because their cattle are stepping in the holes and so, in some cases, they are seen as a nuisance animal,” he said.
Bowersock said it's unlikely that the species goes much further north than Iowa.
“I don't think we're going to see them anywhere further north than that, because they have more sustained cold temperatures once you hit Minnesota and Wisconsin.”
- Nate Bowersock, black bear and furbearer biologist at the Missouri Department of Conservation