Nine-banded Armadillo

Dasypus novemcintus
Nine-banded armadillo

Photo:, CC BY 3.0

Report a Sighting

If you have recently seen an armadillo in the northern half of Illinois (green portion of the map on the right), please REPORT the sighting to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. We are only interested in hearing about current sightings on the northern edge expansion which include the following counties: Adams, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DeWitt, DuPage, Ford, Fulton, Grundy,  Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, JoDaviess, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Ogle, Peoria, Piatt, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermilion, Warren, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago and Woodford. Thank you for your interest and willingness to help with this effort.

Description & Identification

Armadillo were first reported in southern Illinois in 1979. They have become quite common in southern Illinois and continue to expand their range northward. The Department is aware of armadillo populations in the southern half of the state and we are currently tracking their expansion in the northern half (see map). The nine-banded armadillo is very distinct and is not easily confused with any other animal that is found in Illinois. An adult armadillo is the size of a large cat, though the body shape resembles that of an opossum. They are most closely related to sloths and anteaters. Armadillos have a carapace of bony plates covered with leathery skin that may be mottled brown to yellowish-white in color. They have very little hair.

The head is long and slender, with ears that are approximately 40 percent the length of the head. Armadillos have relatively short legs. There are four toes on the front feet and five toes on the hind feet, all with well-developed claws for digging. The tail is almost as long as the body.

Average Length: 24 to 33 inches including the tail

Average Weight: 8 to 17 pounds

Species Spotlight

Learn more about armadillos in Illinois in OutdoorIllinois Journal:

Legal Status

Armadillos are not currently protected by the Illinois Wildlife Code. They may be removed without a permit.

Armadillos can survive in areas with a constant source of water that have annual temperatures above 28°F. Since they depend heavily on insects as a food source, have very little hair, and do not hibernate, armadillos cannot easily survive when the ground is frozen for more than a few days.

There have been a few hundred verified armadillo sightings in Illinois since the 1990s, mostly in the southern half of the state. They are known to breed in Illinois.

Man and armadillo illustration
Size comparison between a six foot man and an armadillo.

Illustrator: Lynn Smith

Illustrator: Lynn Smith