Sunday, December 24, 2006

'Dillos on the March

Jeff Meyerson, who sent this link, lives in Brooklyn, where the 'dillos haven't shown up. Yet.

'Little Armored Thing' Invades Midwest - AOL News

Armadillos Nudge Their Way Toward Northern U.S. Climes

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (Dec. 24) - For years, Lloyd Nelson laughed off as myth reports that armadillos - those armored, football-sized critters with the big claws and bigger nose - had waddled their way into southern Illinois, the same place folks say they've seen cougars.

Folks weren't fibbing about the mountain lions. Nelson knows now they weren't joshing about armadillos, either.

Since his run-in with an armadillo that was turning a woman's flower bed into a crater near here three years ago, the Jackson County animal-control chief says he's logged in this county alone 13 sightings of the stubby-legged kin to sloths and anteaters. Most were dead as doornails along roads - the leathery animals with poor vision are no match against highway traffic.

"We've had armadillos killed on the road just about every year" since 2003, says Nelson, reflecting what wildlife specialists say is ample evidence that the creatures with the pencil-thin tail are nudging their way northward from their southern U.S. climes.

"We've got them in Nebraska; that's as far north as we have any records," said Lynn Robbins, a biology professor at Missouri State University. "They're adapting, filling in so many places."

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