It appears an unfamiliar critter has made its way into our neck of the woods.
Many armadillos have been found near the intersection of University Parkway and State Road 66. But very few have seen armadillos in this area alive. Instead we've learned about their existence here after finding their carcasses alongside the highway.
Expert Indiana State University Life-Sciences Professor John Whitaker says there have been armadillo sightings in southern Indiana dating back to 2003. He says sightings have been made in Gibson, Dubois, Vanderburgh, Pike, and Warrick Counties during that time.
Mesker Park Zoo Animal Curator Sue Lindsey says the armadillos have likely moved here due to our areas increasingly mild winters. She says all armadillos need to survive is a warm climate and plenty of grubs and insects to eat.
"People are really surprised armadillos are moving. They're called the Virginia Opossum, but your opossums are South American residents that moved into the United States. We don't think anything of having them," Lindsey says.
Lindsey says armadillos were introduced in Florida some time ago. Populations there have now combined with those in the southwest and have been pushed northward.
She also says many biologists think armadillos will eventually reach as far north as Pennsylvania.
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