Nine-banded Armadillo
(Dasypus novemcintus)

Description & Identification

The nine-banded armadillo is very distinct and is not easily confused with any other animal that is found in Illinois. Armadillos are the size of a large cat, and though their body shape resembles that of an opossum. They are most closely related to sloths and anteaters. Armadillos have a carapace of bony plates covered with leathery skin that may be mottled brown to yellowish-white in color. They have very little hair.

Photo:, CC BY 3.0
Nine-banded armadillo

The head is long and slender, with ears that are approximately 40 percent the length of the head. Armadillos have relatively short legs. There are four toes on the front feet and five toes on the hind feet, all with well-developed claws for digging. The tail is almost as long as the body.

Average Length: 24 to 33 inches including the tail

Average Weight: 8 to 17 pounds


Illustrator: Lynn Smith
Man and armadillo illustration
Size comparison between a six-foot tall man and an armadillo.








Species Spotlight

Learn more about armadillos in Illinois in Outdoor Illinois Wildlife Journal:

Legal Status

Armadillos are not currently protected by the Illinois Wildlife Code. They may be removed without a permit.

Armadillos can only survive in areas with a constant source of water that have annual temperatures above 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Since they depend heavily on insects as a food source, have very little hair and do not hibernate, armadillos cannot survive when the ground is frozen for more than a few days.

There have been a few hundred verified armadillo sightings in Illinois since the 1990’s, mostly in the southern half of the state.

Report a Sighting

If you have recently seen an armadillo in Illinois, please REPORT the sighting to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.