ST. LOUIS, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Authorities say global warming may be responsible for the migration of armadillos from Southern states like Texas as far north as Missouri and Illinois.
"They are here to stay," Professor Lynn Robbins of Missouri State University tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The football-size creatures feast on beetles, grubs and earthworms. It is said they can smell insects through 6 inches of soil.
Prolific diggers, their handiwork has left some yards looking as if a "plow had gone through," says Tom Meister, a wildlife damage biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation in the St. Louis area.
Because the armadillo is a non-native species, there are few restrictions preventing Missouri property owners from shooting or trapping armadillos suspected of causing damage -- although it rarely goes that far, Meister says.
The armadillo was, over some resistance, made the state small mammal of Texas, where it is considered a pest.