ST. LOUIS, Mo (KMOX) — Making the trek north from Texas, Florida and Louisiana — up through Arkansas and Missouri — the armadillo invasion continues along St. Louis area roads.
“(we’re) getting more and more reports of them causing some damage to golf courses, lawns, and of course reports of roadkill all over the place,” says Missouri Conservation Department’s Tom Meister.
He says once the weather starts to get warm armadillos begin to pop up everywhere.
Meister says the leathery shell-covered mammal are mostly harmless, but should be avoided because they are the only animal to carry leprosy.
“There are people who will not only eat them, but make funny touristy type stuff, like ashtrays out of armadillo shells,” says Meister. “Research shows that people who handle those things that way are the ones who get leprosy.”
Meister says you see so many road kill armadillos because their defense mechanism when scared by a car is to jump three feet in the air, usually right into the vehicle’s grill.
The video below is of an armadillo seen in Dixon, Mo.