Every once in a while, you may find one of these out-of-staters visiting Iowa. According to the Iowa DNR, the nine-banded armadillo has been expanding northward from Texas since the 1850s.

While armadillos may make their way into Iowa now and then, they’re not likely to survive our cold and harsh winters. However, before it went extinct, the Beautiful armadillo was a resident of Iowa 11,000 years ago. Armadillos eat up to 200 pounds of insects per year and prefer to live in heavily forested areas.

They are known for their armor, but they also have a powerful sense of smell, but very poor eyesight and hearing. Of the 21 species of armadillo, only the nine-banded has ventured out of central and South America.

The nine-banded armadillo was first seen in Texas in the mid-1800s, they were first spotted in Southern Missouri in the 1970s but now have been seen in every county of the state, including along the Iowa border.

If you do happen to stumble upon one, the Iowa DNR wants to know!

Last July, a police officer in Coralville spotted an Armadillo wandering around the city streets.

Only one species, the three-banded armadillo, can roll itself into a hard armored ball to defend itself against predators. They sleep up to 16 hours a day and 90 percent of their diet is made up of insects.

The nine-banded armadillo is the official state animal of Texas.

 

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