Another doubtful armor-dillo story

Doubtful indeed.

A man in Texas claimed he shot an armadillo on a highway at 3AM and the bullet ricocheted off the animal and hit him. He was treated at a hospital and released.

From KTRE.com, Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

He obviously had seen THIS story that states a man in Georgia used a 9 mm pistol to kill an armadillo, but the bullet also ricocheted off, hit a fence, went through the back door of his mother-in-law’s mobile home, through a recliner she was sitting in, and into her back.

DN readers are all…
are you serious_default

It sounds more like an excuse he’s using to possibly cover up a shooting accident.

To get to the bottom of it, a test with a dead armadillo, of course, would be helpful, because it’s not making sense. Armadillos don’t have “armor”, their outer covering is a combination of bone and a tough tissue coating. Its carapace or “shell” is made up of scutes composed of the protein keratin. It’s tough and extremely useful but not bullet proof just like bone is not bullet proof. Are Mythbusters still accepting suggestions?

While one incident might be a fluke, these miracle armor-dillo stories sound like the birth of an urban legend, which is probably bad for the armadillo.

  10 comments for “Another doubtful armor-dillo story

  1. brewhogg
    July 31, 2015 at 2:31 PM

    Maybe the armadillo used his chi to deflect the bullet? Saw this story about experts claiming that armadillos may be responsible for increasing leprosy cases in Florida (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/armadillos-spreading-leprosy-in-florida-officials-warn/). Armadillos can’t be killed with a bullet and they spread leprosy? I am running the other way if I see an armadillo approaching me.

  2. Sk3ptik0
    July 31, 2015 at 3:12 PM

    I think it very much depends on the angle of impact.
    For starters, 9mm bullets don’t have a lot of penetrating power, compared to, say a 45 caliber. So if one shoots a bone-like shell it’s possible that the bullet can ricochet off of it, but I doubt very much it’s going to come back or ricochet at an angle other than a very shallow on.

    It’s more likely that instead of hitting the armadillo, the bullet hit a rock or something as solid and then ricochet away.

    Then there is the momentum of the bullet. In the second example, where the ricochet hit MIL after killing the Armadillo and bouncing off the landscape. Not credible. Unless this bullet was 9 inches and shot from a cannon.

  3. Ryan
    July 31, 2015 at 4:45 PM

    Actually you’ve got it a bit backwards. As I understand it 9mm rounds have excellent penetrating power. Given the size of the round and how fast they’re moving they tend to blow through things rather easily. What they lack is stopping power. The .45 is larger and moves slower so it tends to penetrate less, but imparts more of its energy to the target. Doing more damage and “stopping” whatever you’re shooting better.

    Its the major reason why police, and to a lesser extent militarizes, are moving away from 9mm and towards .40 caliber. Bullets were passing through walls, without slowing down or changing direction, and harming bystanders during shoot outs. IIRC this same mechanic is responsible for 9mm rounds ricocheting more easily than many other rounds, and being more dangerous when they do. They hold onto more of their kinetic energy when they hit something. But your right its going to take a very shallow angle, and mostly likely something much harder and less brittle than bone and leathery skin to do it.

  4. Ronald H. Pine
    July 31, 2015 at 8:09 PM

    The “shell” of a Nine-banded Armadillo consists of a very thin layer of horny keratin, like a bunch of fingernails sort of lightly glued together, edge to edge, and a very, very, very thin layer of little bony scutes under that that are also not terribly well-attached to each other, edge to edge. The “shell” as a whole is flexible like a piece of leather. I do not believe that any kind of a shell from any kind of firearm would richochet off of it. It would be as easily penetrated as a piece of cardboard.

  5. Haldurson
    July 31, 2015 at 10:39 PM

    While the bullet deflection thing is probably an urban legend, the leprosy part of your story is actually true. People have been known to contract leprosy through handling armadillos or eating armadillo meat.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armadillo#In_science

  6. busterggi (Bob Jase)
    August 1, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    Damned ‘dillos using Stark tech!

  7. fleabane
    August 1, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    That’s all fine and good but I have to wonder: What could he possibly have been doing that a cover story of shooting at an armadillo would appear to be LESS stupid and idiotic.

  8. Artor
    August 1, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    Which only goes to indicate that the armadillos have been getting body armor illicitly, probably from another FBI program gone wrong.

  9. August 1, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    One can only wonder…

  10. Ronald H. Pine
    August 2, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    Shooting an armadillo wouldn’t be considered, among one’s peers and neighbors, to necessarily be a stupid and idiotic thing to do in some areas where they occur. For one thing, they are good eating and there is a tradition of peope shooting them for food in some places in the South. Now that some people at least know that you can get leprosy from them, I would guess that that practice is becoming less common. Before I knew about the leprosy issue, I myself ate armadillo meat in Texas and Brazil, although the animals were not shot by me. Also, they can be regarded as pests because they can tear up people’s gardens, and that could give someone motivation for shooting them.

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