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Ask The Times: Armadillos slowly migrating their way farther north
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If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following questions were submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

 

I was driving down Thompson Bridge Road near the Social Security Office and noticed a dead armadillo in the center turn lane. I was surprised to see one this far north. Is this something new or have they been here and I just have missed them? 

Historically, armadillos are not generally found in Northeast Georgia; however these nocturnal creatures have slowly begun to migrate north due to the effects of climate change, according to experts.

Their typical habitat ranges from Latin America to the southeastern United States, including southern and central Georgia, though only one out of 20 known species of armadillo lives in the United States.

“Armadillos are very common in Georgia. They range as far north as St. Louis.  I have seen them in Chattanooga,” said Michael Mengak, a wildlife specialist and associate professor of wildlife courses at the University of Georgia. “If your reader saw one, you can be comfortable knowing there are probably many more in the general area.”

Cecil Jennings, the unit leader for the USGS Georgia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, said armadillos have been expanding their range northward for a number of years. “They have been in Athens for many years now, so I’m not surprised that they are in Gainesville,” he said.

Clinton T. Moore, an assistant unit leader, agreed with Jennings.

“I don’t have personal knowledge about their range in Georgia, but it is true that their range continues to expand northward,” Moore said. “It is inevitable that armadillos will eventually occur in Gainesville, and perhaps this is not the first sighting — I would not be surprised if there were more nearby your reader.”

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