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Posted at 07:14 AM ET, 10/05/2011

Roving armadillos could be heading for the Washington area, biologists say

Armadillos in D.C.? It may sound absurd, but new reports show that the leathery, armored mammal from Texas is on the move and could soon take up residence in the Washington area.

Climate change is the culprit, reports the Daily Climate Web site, citing biologists’ claims that the armadillo’s northward expansion can be attributed to a warming atmosphere.


An armadillo named “Gurt” gets weighed in at a zoo in Germany. (Matthias Hiekel - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
The Museum of Life and Science in North Carolina adds that the armadillo’s lack of natural predators and Americans’ reluctance to hunt and eat them are also contributing factors.

The armadillo arrived in Texas in the 1880s, in Florida in the 1920s and has since settled into “totally unexpected” areas including southern Illinois, Indiana, Kansas and Missouri.

Biologists speculate that if the trend continues, the armadillo may soon be turning up in Washington, Maryland and Virginia, and even as far north as New Jersey.

Scientists don’t know what the range expansion means, though it’s not out of the question to imagine the insect-eaters could wreak havoc on backyards in the DMV.

They “can be fairly destructive to areas in their search to dig up delicious crawly treats,” the Museum of Life and Science reported.

“Basically all we can do is ... sit back and measure the change as it happens,” the University of Michigan’s Philip Myers told the Daily Climate, “whether we like it or not.”

Click here for more information and a map of the armadillo’s projected range expansion.

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By  |  07:14 AM ET, 10/05/2011

 
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