JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO (KPLR) - They’re not your typical St. Louis creature, but the Missouri Department of Conservation says armadillos have made their way into the St. Louis area. MoDOT crews have seen armadillos along the sides of area interstates.
An armadillo’s defense mechanism is to jump straight up when threatened. That works in the wild, but makes them an easy target for cars on the interstates.
Jay Everitt is a technical director for Rottler Pest Control and Lawn Solutions. He says his company recently trapped an armadillo during an attempt to get rid of a raccoon in the Lake St. Louis area.
“We had some traps places around the perimeter and the critter found his way in,” said Everitt.
He says armadillos can tear up a lawn or garden. Rottler does set traps for customers wanting to get rid of the animal.
Wildlife experts say a combination of mild winters and armadillos adapting to the local climate has led to a greater number of armadillo sightings.
Mike Beran moved his wildlife removal company to St. Louis from Louisiana where he removed armadillos on a regular basis.
“If you go out toward Hillsboro and south of Festus I mean every day you see them on the side of the road,” said Beran, Wildlife Command Center owner.
He believes area construction has turned up piles of dirt leaving armadillos a place to survive during the winter. He says they can destroy parts of a lawn.
“They damage the root system of the grass and so you’ll have a big brown spot wherever they dig,” said Beran.
Everitt says bush burning south of St. Louis has helped send armadillos north.
“In the last five, six, ten years they’ve really kind of pushed this way,” said Everitt.