Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS
 
 
 

Armadillos — coming soon to a place near you? By: Kevin Williams, Grundy County Conservation Director

February 1, 2019
Reinbeck Courier
I told you last week that Tyson Brown had two interesting animals to talk about when he had stopped by the office. Well, this week’s column is about the second. He had pictures of a Dasypus novemcinctus!!!! That is an animal related to sloths and anteaters. In this case, it is the scientific name for the Nine-banded Armadillo. Loosely translated, “armadillo” means “little armored one” in Spanish. But armadillos in Iowa? Yes, Tyson had pics of one killed by a combine in a cornfield in Marshall County. I was told that this was the farthest north report this year. 2018 seemed to be a year with increased sightings of armadillos in Iowa. “We’re not sure how they will affect native wildlife likes plants and animals here,” according to Todd Gosselink, Wildlife Biologist with the Iowa DNR. “We’ll just have to wait a few years and see if they are in fact heading north.” Their closest populations are in southern Missouri, a bit of a trek for the little armored animals that aren’t suited for harsh Iowa winters. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, armadillos seem to be pretty common in the southern half of the state but have been reported almost all the way to the Iowa border. In Missouri, armadillos often end up as roadkill because they have a habit of jumping up into the air (three to four feet) when they’re spooked  — a deadly trait when they’re trying to cross highways underneath moving cars. In the meantime, here are some interesting facts: They typically weigh between 11 to  14  pounds. Each year, armadillos can eat up to 200 pounds of insects, which consist of 90 percent of their diet. In the summer, they are active from twilight to the early morning hours. In the winter, they only come out during the afternoon  when the temperatures are warmest. Armadillos can carry slow-moving leprosy bacterium. Always wear gloves when handling armadillos - dead or alive - and cook meat thoroughly before eating. I don’t plan to do this last thing.  You may think first of Texas when you hear “armadillo” – it’s the Texas state (small) mammal. The nine-banded armadillo ranges from Argentina and Uruguay to the United States. They’ve been expanding northward from Texas and Mexico for more than 100 years. Their armor may steal the show, but these little mammals have impressive claws, which they use to burrow underground. But they don’t just stick to land – they can’t swim well but armadillos can walk underwater and hold their breath for up to six minutes! If you encounter armadillos, I would love to hear about it, especially if they are Grundy County reports. I will be happy to pass along the info to the State. Or feel free to pass the info including pictures, specific location details as well as your contact information to: James.Coffey@dnr.iowa.gov so that he can track armadillo sightings in Iowa.

Article Photos

 
 

 

I am looking for:
in:
News, Blogs & Events Web