When you think of animals in Illinois, the last thing you probably think of is an armadillo but apparently, they are more common than you might think - and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources wants to know if you've seen one.

In particular, it is a nine-banded armadillo, or Dasypus novemcintus, that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is interested in knowing about.

Photo by Aldo Hernandez on Unsplash
Photo by Aldo Hernandez on Unsplash
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What Makes Armadillos Unique

Armadillos have a body shaped similarly to an opossum.

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Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash
Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash
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Related Animals

They are akin to sloths and anteaters.

Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash
Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash
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Armadillos have very little hair

They don't have much hair but are covered in a shell of boney-like plates, similar to a coat of armor. Those plates are covered in skin that has a similar look and feel of leather.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
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Short Legs

The legs of an armadillo appear disproportionately short compared to their oblong bodies.

How Big Do They Get?

An adult armadillo is equivalent in size to a large house cat.

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash
Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash
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Head to tail, an armadillo can grow to anywhere from 24 to 33 inches in length and average between 8 to 17 pounds.

There is no protection for armadillos in the Illinois Wildlife Code and WildLifeIllinois.org says, "they may be removed without a permit."

What Kind of Climate Do They Live In?

Photo by Hans Isaacson on Unsplash
Photo by Hans Isaacson on Unsplash
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Armadillos are often associated with areas of the US a bit farther south than Illinois which leaves us wondering, what kind of climate do they typically live in? According to WildLifeIllinois.org,

Armadillos can survive in areas with a constant source of water that have annual temperatures above 28˚F. Since they depend heavily on insects as a food source, have very little hair, and do not hibernate, armadillos cannot easily survive when the ground is frozen for more than a few days.

Armadillos do breed in Illinois and "few hundred" sightings have been verified since the 1990s. Of those sightings, most of them have taken place in the southern portion of the state.

What Do I Do If I See One in the Wild in Illinois?

If you have seen an armadillo in the state of Illinois recently, you are encouraged to report your sighting to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. You can use the interactive form found here to make your report.

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