Ron Andrews, a biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said armadillos are commonly found in the south central and southeastern United States, Mexico and South America, but one of the animals was found Saturday at the side of the road by a rural couple near Wever, The (Burlington, Iowa) Hawk Eye, reported Wednesday.
He said the animal may have been part of an early species range expansion.
"In southeast Iowa, the chances are a little rarer than in southwest Iowa because the rascals have been moving up from the more southwesterly side (of the region.) But I do know this, nothing is impossible anymore in this day and age. You never want to say never," Andrews said.
He said the armadillo may have also been captured somewhere else and released in the area or it may have stowed away on a truck or a train.
"We have no way to know for sure," Andrews said. "It's one of those quirky things we're going to have to really watch as the next year unfolds to see if more show up."