False alarm: Runaway armadillo Josephine found safe not far from her Sacramento Zoo habitat

Sacramento Zoo

Josephine the Armadillo’s plan to escape the Sacramento Zoo was thwarted less than 200 feet from her habitat.

Zoo announced Thursday afternoon that the six-banded armadillo had escaped. But Friday morning she was found on the Land Park grounds, 192 feet from the Interpretive Center, officials said Friday morning in a release.

“Once found, veterinary staff immediately examined her and gave her a clean bill of health,” the release said. “We are happy to report that Josephine is healthy and safely back in the Interpretive Center.”

Josephine, who has been at the zoo since April 2021, had escaped once before, shortly after her arrival. That time, she made it farther, all the way to the entry plaza — still technically on zoo property — spokeswoman Andrea Haverland wrote in an email.

The zoo didn’t address how Josephine got out or whether changes would be made to prevent future escapes.

“Her escape is a personnel issue and it would be inappropriate to provide further comment,” Haverland wrote in an email. “We constantly review policies and procedures for the care and welfare of our animals.”

The mammal is native to the grasslands of South America and can be active during the day or night, the Thursday release said. They are excellent diggers, who typically shelter underground.

The zoo website once described 6-year-old Josephine as a “very energetic” armadillo who loves running around the Reptile House Lawn and digging holes. She also likes naps, according to zoo footage from KCRA last year.

Josephine, who works in the zoo’s education program, is the zoo’s only armadillo.

The zoo could potentially relocate from William Land Park to Elk Grove, in order to expand, though the move is not yet finalized.