STATE: See an armadillo in North Carolina? The Wildlife Commission wants to know 

RALEIGH The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is asking the public to report any sightings of nine-banded armadillos to help Commission biologists determine their range expansion in the Tar Heel state. 

If you observe an armadillo in the wild, please participate in the NC Armadillo project by uploading and sharing your photos or download the iNaturalist app, available for iPhone and Android.  

Another option for reporting an observation is by emailing armadillo@ncwildlife.org and including: 

  • A photo of the armadillo (if available) 
  • When it was observed (date and time) 
  • The location where it was observed (GPS coordinates are best, but a detailed location description is acceptable) 

Armadillos lack thick insulation and must dig for most foods. Freezing conditions can cause them to starve or freeze to death, so mild winter temperature conditions are ideal for them. Given that North Carolina is experiencing fewer long stretches of below-freezing weather, armadillos are expanding northward.   

“Whether armadillos continue spreading beyond their current range will be largely determined by climate,” according to Colleen Olfenbuttel, the Commission’s black bear and furbearer biologist. “The number of counties with confirmed observations is 28, stretching from Cherokee to Dare counties. This makes it likely the armadillo is expanding its range naturally throughout North Carolina, rather than being helped by human intervention.”  

Native to Central and South America, armadillos have gradually expanded their range into the southeastern United States. In 2007, the agency received the first confirmed sighting of a nine-banded armadillo in Macon County and in the last 16 years has received more than 898 reports in 70 counties. 

Learn more by reading the Commission’s armadillo species profile, the 2022 armadillo observation report, and visiting the armadillo webpage.