Joyce Hofmann, of the Illinois Natural History Survey, said the armadillo first appeared in Texas in the 1850s, having traveled north from Central America. It took it almost 150 years for armadillos to become established as far north as southern Missouri.They may be on the move but don't expect them to make their way to Springfield.
"All things considered, they're moving pretty quickly," Hofmann said.
Hofmann, who has a doctoral degree in zoology, said it's estimated that armadillos travel an average of 10 kilometers per year. Since 1990, Hofmann said there have been 100 documented sightings of both dead and live armadillos in Illinois with the majority of the sightings in Southern Illinois. The sightings have increased in regularity since 2000.
The lower third of Illinois is in the armadillos' prospective range of establishment, or area where they are able to actively reproduce. Armadillos require a minimum average temperature of 28 degrees Fahrenheit for the month of January to be able to establish themselves. The average January temperatures in Southern Illinois are between 32 and 36 degrees. This aspect, combined with the wooded terrain of Southern Illinois and an abundance of ponds, lakes, rivers and other bodies of water may be what has attracted armadillos.By the way, if you follow the link, notice the picture associated with the article. You would think they could have come up with a better subject. At least a healthier one.