Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Armadillo Spotted In Saline County
For several years, the Dorchester Times has reported on the migration of animals not normally seen in our area (from mountain lions to the Sasquatch). One of those animals is the armadillo -- a few of which have been seen in Nebraska around the Kansas border and as far north as Butler County.
Now a confirmed armadillo spotting has occurred in Saline County. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that workers at Runza in Crete found a dead armadillo last Friday in the restaurant's parking lot.
Mike Fritz, a natural heritage zoologist with Nebraska Game and Parks, said he gets fewer than a dozen reports of armadillos in Nebraska each year. The numbers vary and often depend on the severity of the prior winter. Most are spotted along roadsides following an unfortunate run-in with a tire.
The nine-banded armadillo has a great sense of smell but poor eyesight and is terrible at dodging cars. Armadillos have been marching steadily from South America north throughout recorded history, crossing the Rio Grande into Texas before 1854, according to the Kansas Mammal Atlas.
According to the Journal Star, winter generally stops their migration. They don’t regulate body temperature well, making cold weather fatal.
If you spot an armadillo, be careful. They can carry leprosy, although instances of them transmitting the disease to humans are rare.