Chicago, IL

The Illinois DNR wants to know if you see an armadillo in Chicago

Jennifer Geer

Is climate change bringing armadillos into northern Illinois?

(CHICAGO) They don't seem to be here yet, but according to officials from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR), armadillos might be making their way north from the southern part of the state

Nine-banded armadillos have migrated over the years from southern places such as Texas, and are now widely spotted in the southern half of Illinois.

Researchers at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) are working to anticipate where the armadillos might head next.

Where are the armadillos?

To answer this question, in February, the Illinois DNR put a request out to residents to report sightings of armadillos in the state.

Carly J. Haywood, a researcher at SIUC told Fox2, "armadillos have successfully adapted to a broader range of environmental conditions and surpassed thresholds from previous models thought to be too cold to support the establishment of a new population, with records as far north as Nebraska and Indiana. In Illinois, sightings have increased dramatically since the early 2000s, and breeding populations have become established in the state.”

Specifically, the DNR is interested to know if armadillos are showing up in the northern half of Illinois. See the map here. Around Chicagoland, these counties include Cook, DuPage, DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will.

Where to report armadillo sightings

If you see an armadillo lumbering around in one of the northern counties of Illinois, you can report it here. Check the listing of the counties they are looking for before sending in your report.

Armadillos in Chicago?

There have been four sightings of armadillos in the Chicago area over the past 30 years, according to the Chicago Tribune. Two were found in Cook County and two others in DuPage County.

Tari Marshall, a spokesperson for The Morton Arboretum, said in an email this March that no armadillos have been spotted among the wildlife at the Arboretum, nor was she aware of any living in the Chicago region.

Keep an eye out

However, they could continue to move north in part due to climate change. Trent Ford, Illinois state climatologist, said to the Chicago Tribune regarding armadillos in Illinois, "It’s a living illustration of the insidious effects of climate change."

And Agustin Jimenez, Southern Illinois University associate professor, told the Tribune he believes armadillos have been migrating north to Illinois from Texas by following river banks and creeks.

The downside of armadillos

Although they may be cute, they can cause damage to garden beds and yards. Also, armadillos can carry leprosy and Chagas disease.

What's a group of armadillos called?

Fun fact, a group of armadillos is known as a roll of armadillos.


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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

Chicago, IL

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