Armadillos in Illinois? Yes, that is correct. The species, not typically native to northern regions, has recently been seen migrating in large quantities to the southern part of the state and traveling north. They are found near sheds, in gardens and just about anywhere that there is dirt.
According to The Pantagraph, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources requested that the public notify them if an armadillo is found. What started out as a few sightings every so often, turned into 400 being found in a 24-hour period.
Mindy Wendling, a school teacher from Pekin, noted seeing an armadillo inside of her window well and was very surprised.
“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," Wendling explained to The Pantagraph. "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."
Eric Schauber, director of the Illinois Natural History Survey, described armadillos as an official new species of Illinois. He stated that they are not invasive and cause little harm.