Last week when my mom and I were driving back to Kentucky from Florida, as we traveled through Tennessee, we started seeing what looked like armadillos on the side of the road. Unfortunately they were, well...deceased.

As we made our way to Kentucky, sure enough, we saw more of the same. They were were definitely armadillos, but I had never seen them in the Bluegrass state before.

Armadillos in the United States

The nine-banded armadillo is the only species in the United States. Spanish for "little armored one" the armadillo can actually have anywhere between 7 to 11 plates that cover the top half of its body. In cartoons, we often see them rolling up into a ball and rolling away, but fun fact, only three-banded armadillos can do that trick.

Where Do Armadillos Live?

According to the National Wildlife Federation, "Nine-banded armadillos are found in the southeastern United States, but their range has been expanding continually northward for more than a hundred years. A few have even been spotted as far north as Illinois and Nebraska. Armadillos have not yet reached the full extent of their possible range, which one study has predicted may reach as far north as Massachusetts."

This is mainly due to increased carbon in the atmosphere, climate change and land development reducing habitats. Those preferred habitats being warm climates, forests, and grasslands that are humid and wet. Did you know armadillos are also good swimmers? They can even hold their breath for around six minutes, and I imagine they probably look like little submarines as they make their way through streams and small rivers.

Are There Really Armadillos in Kentucky?

As often as they are seen on the side of the highway, it may seem as though populations would decrease, but the opposite is actually true. In a report by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, Nine-banded armadillos in Kentucky started in the mid-1980s. Throughout the mid1980s and 1990s, the department received only occasional reports of armadillos, but by the early 2000s they had become fairly common in counties as far east as Land Between the Lakes."

Have you ever seen an armadillo in Kentucky? Send me a message with your story!

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