Rare armadillo sighting shocks drivers in Richland Co.

RICHLAND CENTER, Wis (WMTV) - It is not uncommon for Wisconsin drivers to pass by roadkill on their commutes, however, an unusual sight on the side of the road caused some drivers to pause.

Kyle Cook said he and three others driving together noticed something odd on the side of the road Thursday. When they stopped to take a second look, they realized it was an armadillo.

“I’ve never seen an armadillo in Wisconsin before,” Cook said.

He stopped to take a video and reported the find to the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources.

“We were driving down 56 going East toward Richland Center, and we all pointed at the same time, there were four of us, and said ‘that is an armadillo,’” he said.

The DNR said it is very rare to see an armadillo in this state.
“No one really knows how they get here. Either through pet trade, or there is speculation that they hitch rides under semis,” said the DNR area wildlife supervisor, Andy Paulios.

According to the DNR, armadillos do not breed in Wisconsin, and the closest established breeding range is roughly the southern third of Illinois. Temperature is the greatest limiting factor for armadillos, as the Wisconsin winters get too cold. Paulios said even just one or two sightings a year is very rare.

“An unusual quirk of nature, I guess,” he said.

Cook said he considers himself lucky to have spotted one.

“If I could spot more that would be awesome!” Cook said.

The DNR said if you every see anything out of the ordinary, like an armadillo, report it to them so they can track the species. As for just how this armadillo made its way to Wisconsin, that remains a mystery.