Armadillos: The New House Guests


Wanted: Armadillos. For those scratching their heads wondering what animal that is, it is a long-snouted, hard-shelled mammal with armor-like plates around its body. The fitting name “armadillo” refers to “little armored one” in Spanish. 

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources released a public request to report any sights of armadillos. These creatures aren’t hard to spot or a rare find. The department received more than 400 reports in 24 hours, from across the state and most of the sightings came from southern counties. 

Jeff Holshouser found five armadillos in his backyard south of Carbondale. In his eyes, the best course of action was to eradicate them. What does that mean? “Meaning, I removed them unwillingly, without offering a chance of continued life support. You’ve got to — they’re getting thick down here,” Holshouser said. There were too many intruders flooding the residence and they had to go.

Mindy Wendling, a school teacher in the central Illinois town of Pekin, discovered one in her flower pots.

Wendling said: “My daughter says there’s something in the window well. Whatever it was, it was hard to see. It was throwing rocks and dirt at the window as it dug, so much that we had to climb on a step stool to look down. And it’s pouring rain out.

“My daughter says, ‘It’s an armadillo.’ My husband and I are like, ‘OK, sure. Illinois is not Texas.’ But she’s like, ‘No, really.’ And the next night, it’s back and it is throwing so much mud at the windows. So I shined a light on it and this thing, it jumps straight up into the air. I called the DNR. They asked me if they could trap it and I said, ‘Whatever you want — but wait, why do I have an armadillo in my window?'”

Climate change can provide some explanation for the increased number of sightings. “It’s a living illustration of the insidious effects of climate change,” said Trent Ford, Illinois state climatologist. An armadillo randomly strolling in the yard is a repercussion of climate change. 

Perhaps people can cut down on their grocery bills as armadillos have historically been a food source for humans. This creature was nicknamed “poor man’s pork” so supper is coming to you, folks. 


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