Armadillos becoming a more common sight in Kansas City - KCTV5

Armadillos becoming a more common sight in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Armadillos are invading the metro. Ten years ago an armadillo sighting in the Kansas City area was very rare, but now it's becoming a more common sight.

There are vaults worth of videos on YouTube of armadillos in Missouri, but the sightings are no longer unique.

"Even as a kid, I can remember not seeing any. Then I'd see one in southwest Missouri and now I'm starting to see them around here," said Jeremy Soucy with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The little living tanks are trekking north, and have been for years, from their native turf of states like Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas.

Now they've made their way to the Kansas City metro. They haven't gone any further than northern Missouri, but that's a lot further than they've ever been before.

Experts say it could be for a lot of reasons. For one, the ground in the area is getting warmer, making it a more desirable environment for them. The other big reason is food.

"A lot of times they're digging in people's gardens, eating insects, tilling up backyards, that type of thing," Soucy said.

From grub worms to grasshoppers, the armadillos are honing in on the diets of animals native to Missouri and Kansas and, while they may be a nuisance, they're not dangerous.

"They don't have great senses, so don't sneak up on them. If you do, they'll jump. No immediate fears, though," Soucy said.

As for the rumors of armadillos transmitting leprosy, officials say they're not entirely false.

"There was a giant fear of leprosy for a while. You have to actually eat uncooked armadillo. I for one am not even eating a cooked one, so I think we're safe on that part," Soucy said.

If someone is having issues with armadillos, they can borrow a live trap from the department of conservation or call them for advice on what to do.

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