Mar 22, 2024 - News

It wouldn't be that crazy to see an armadillo in Columbus

Illustration of an armadillo peeking over the top of a large Axios logo.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A recent Reddit post by a driver who swears she saw an armadillo waddling along a Columbus off-ramp got us wondering: Could this be real?

Why it matters: We were delighted (and maybe a little alarmed) to learn it wouldn't be the first time one of the critters has turned up in Ohio.

By the numbers: There have been two confirmed armadillo sightings in Ohio, per the Department of Natural Resources. Both were reported in 2021 and (rest their little souls) found deceased along interstate highway exit ramps.

The intrigue: Armadillos are most closely associated with Texas, but they've been slowly expanding their range northward for hundreds of years, and there are sightings as far north as Illinois.

  • It's not implausible that they'll eventually take up residence in Ohio as well.

State of play: Katie Dennison, a wildlife biologist with ODNR, tells Axios the two 2021 sightings were far from the southwestern Ohio border, where the department would expect the animals to start showing up naturally.

  • "We suspect those animals were 'hitchhikers' that got onto a vehicle somewhere in armadillo range, and fell off in Ohio," she said. "This may be the same situation for the animal observed in the Columbus area, or it could be a case of mistaken identity."

The bottom line: For now, state wildlife officials don't think armadillos have made it here, at least on their own.

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