Armadillos? In MY Oregon? It’s More Likely Than You Might Imagine

Although they’re normally more associated withArizona or Texas, the natural range of the nine-banded armadillo is defined as any region which gets few enough freezing days in the Winter, and little enough rainfall. Eastern Oregon has historically qualified as part of the natural range of the armadillo – and, of course, the “natural” range of a lot of plants and animals has been moving north in recent decades, due to a certain not-so-natural change in the planet’s temperature, a phenomenon which is associated with a reduction in the amount of rainfall in many areas. 

That’s why it’s not totally surprising that armadillos are being seen in the Willamette Valley more often lately. 

Besides, armadillos have been known to turn up in the most surprising places. 

If you do encounter an armadillo, whether alive or as roadkill, be cautious around it. An armadillo’s bite isn’t an extremely severe one as animal bites go, but only an armadillo, or a human, can bite you and infect you with Hansens disease, also known as leprosy. 

It’s only nine-banded armadillos we’re talking about, though. If you want any of the fancier varieties – the tiny pink fairy armadillo, for instance, or the screaming hairy armadillo, or various other armadillos whose species names sound like you’re just calling a regular armadillo names –  you’ll have to go to South America, or at least the Portland Zoo where they recently had a three-banded armadillo birth.  

By John M. Burt