Armadillo: Indiana’s Opossum on the Half-Shell

The dead armadillo found recently in Perry County. Photo courtesy of IDNR

Once again, we have a report of a (dead) armadillo in southern Indiana.

On January 2, 2017 the Indiana Department of Natural Resources District 8 Law Enforcement Facebook page posted pictures of the decreased nine-banded armadillo that was recovered by an Indiana conservation officer near the town of Gatchel in Perry County. The unfortunate animal had become, to use one of the more entertaining nicknames for the roadkill-prone animals, a “biodegradable speed bump.”

In areas where they are common, they are also known as “Poor Man’s Pork,” “Hoover Hog,” “Grave Digger” (they love freshly-turned dirt!), “Turtle Rabbit,” “Hillbilly Speed Bump” and the every-popular “Opossum on the Half-Shell.”

There have been around a dozen armadillos found in Indiana in the past decade, all of them dead along roadways. The rapid northward expansion of the armadillo from its home range in Texas (where it is the state mammal), Louisiana and Arkansas over the past 50 years has confounded biologists. The animals, while not common, are now frequently seen in Kentucky and southern Illinois and, increasingly, in southern Indiana.

Biologists say that the animals cannot form stable colonies where the January temperature averages below 28 degrees, but experts believe that the southern third of Indiana will likely become part of the home range of these relatives of the sloth and anteater. They are interesting animals: omnivores that can jump straight 3-4 feet in the air, hold their breath for six minutes at a time and walk along river bottoms.

North Carolina is the latest state to consider opening a hunting season on armadillos, so will Indiana be far behind?

Considering the trouble we had getting honeybunches to allow us to display a couple of dead deer heads in the living room, I’m pretty sure she’s not going to be thrilled with an armadillo trophy.


Armadillo– from Wikipedia

Brent Wheat
A well-known and award-winning writer/photographer/radio & television talent/speaker/web-designer/media spokesperson/shooting instructor/elected official/retired police officer/bourbon connoisseur/cigar aficionado/backpacker/hunter/fisherman/gardener/preparedness guru/musician/and jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none, Brent Wheat is the editor and publisher of


  1. I am sure that the little creature I saw walking along in the woods behind my house yesterday was an Armadillo. Wanting a better look, I ran (maybe fast shuffled or limped would be a more accurate description) through the house to get my binocolars. Alas, when I got back it was gone. I’ll keep looking but I know it was what I saw. Also, it could have been traveling to a new area.
    It looked like it could have been half grown.


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