Surrounded by Armadillos in America, the tһгіɩɩіпɡ Adventure of “Alie һᴜпtіпɡ”

The silence in the town was suddenly broken by the sound of an air gun. “Looks like it’s one,” Bullard mumbled as the bullets stopped. But when he went back to check, it turned out to be just a fuse box.

What about Bullard’s true targets, which are armed armadillos, they wear a hard armor, they are in the dark like a rock and only appear with eyes that can glow in the dark.





Jason Bullard had to learn how to kill armadillos with an air rifle, when 0.22 mm bullets couldn’t kill them.

Like alien hunting
In the past year, the whole town of Sapphire has been invaded by an army of armadillos from the tropics of Texas. Only a wave of drying caused by climate change can explain the presence of these animals here.

They had marched over 1,000 km, only to reach the town lawns, digging holes and tearing up gardens, prompting homeowners to pick up the phone to call Bullard early in the morning.

Initially, he only took this job as a bounty hunter. The owners of Sapphire are willing to pay Bullard $100 for each armadillo he shoots. But when they knew the number of enemies was too great, the households in this town hired Bullard outright for a fixed salary.

They gave him a perimeter, around private properties and a golf course that Bullard was supposed to patrol every night, pointing guns and shooting down anything he thought was an armadillo. In just two weeks of November, Bullard killed eight, half the number of armadillos he shot in the entire 12 months of last year.

“It’s like hunting for aliens,” Bullard said. “When these armadillos arrived, we didn’t know anything about them. They appeared out of nowhere and with an exploding population. Real animals are not easy to shoot down.”

The first time he faced an armadillo at Sapphire was in 2019. Bullard shot it with a standard 0.22mm rifle. But the armored animal did not die. It eerily disappeared into the night with a kangaroo-like jump, leaving the hunter gaping in surprise.

“I really don’t believe it,” Bullard said. And so for the next year, he had to ambush every night on a local golf course, going from hole to hole just to find out how to take out these armadillos.

The fight was like the one between Tiger Woods and Davy Crockett, except it was done at night, between a watchman on one side and the other armadillos emitting a humus-gray glow, the light of which store from the sun’s energy during the day they are collected.



Armadillo is famous for his very powerful jumps within 1 meter. It allows the animal to escape even the bear’s pounces.

The invasion of America by the armadillos
The fact that animals like the armadillo appeared in North Carolina is indeed a very strange event. Originating from Mexico, these mammals have only followed in the footsteps of humans who migrated to the United States since the late 19th century.

Armadillo is divided into more than 20 species, the most famous of which are the 9-banded species and the 3-banded species – the rings of scales around the abdomen to identify them. This creature is famous for a very hard outer layer of scales.

It’s not the armor that grows out of the horny skin of the pangolins, but their bones. This bony armor allows armadillos to fend off potential predators and sometimes allows them to roll and roll like a ball of steel that can’t be stopped.

Once in the United States, armadillos quickly explode in their population with females that can give birth to up to 4 pups per litter and countless litters in their lifetime. But despite that, the armadillo’s adaptation to hot and dry climates makes it habitable only within the state of Texas.

There, they are famous as a species of desert marathon. During the Depression, Texans often had difficulty catching armadillos to eat because they had very strong jumps and ran very quickly for more than 10 meters.

Their meat is widely consumed in Central America, and in the southern United States, armadillo was once dubbed the poor man’s pork. But it has never been able to cross state borders like Texas to reach Sapphire, which is nearly 1,300 kilometers away.

This peaceful town is a beautiful piece of plateau nestled deep in the soaring Blue Ridge Mountains. Unlike Texas, the climate here is somewhat temperate mixed with tropical, with abundant rainfall nurturing fir forests on a lush mossy forest floor.

In winter, even Sapphire gets snow while Texas armadillos are not born to see snow. That’s why when the first woman here said she had seen an armadillo, people thought she was dizzy or just drunk.




Armadillos have an armor around them, and they can curl up to roll like a ball.

But the truth is that this creature has not stopped marching north and it captured the Sapphire valley last year. Even the rivers of Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska could not stop this creature.

Biologists say armadillos can hold their breath for up to six minutes, allowing them to walk on the riverbed or even inflate their intestines to float across the river like a sprayed balloon.

“It’s only a matter of time before we see an expansion of the armadillo’s range into other states,” said Colleen Olfenbuttel, a biologist at the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

They will soon march outside the White House lawn
In March 2019, just as the armadillos were beginning to reach North Carolina, officials in Virginia received a confused call from a resident in Buchanan County. This woman was very surprised to discover conical holes in her garden. She captured the first photograph of an armadillo in the state.

“It was a complete shock,” said Nancy Moncrief, curator of mammal genealogy at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. “My colleague said it could be from eastern Kentucky but I had to say ‘what the hell are they doing in Kentucky?

Within a month, Moncrief collected his first specimen, an armadillo killed by a hunting dog. The animal’s carcass was immediately returned to her museum, and its bones were kept as an official specimen marking the animal’s presence in Virginia.

“We put it on Facebook and everyone was like god damn it,” Moncrief said. She suspects these animals are following river valleys, where they could find a rich food source along the Appalachians and will spread across Virginia shortly.

And then, the armadillo may soon be marching in the White House, into New York and beyond. “They will continue to sneak north,” said Moncrief.


The first armadillo to appear in Virginia is on display at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville.

With that said, nothing can explain the wave of armadillo marches across America other than an ongoing climate crisis. For an animal that doesn’t like winter like the armadillo, the process of global warming inadvertently makes temperate lands more and more friendly to them.

The paradise of tropical species begins to explode. Around the town of Sapphire, armadillos can now happily root in the soil with their snouts and claws, feeding on insects year-round at altitudes above 1,200 meters. “We don’t see really cold winters here anymore, and I’m sure that has helped the animals,” Olfenbuttel said.

Lynn Robbins, a veteran biologist at Missouri State University, was one of the first to study armadillo in her state. “As the Earth warms, it’s helping them,” he said. “As long as there’s a place with water and soil to dig, armadillos will probably move right in. But people are still amazed when they see them.”

Coping with the damage caused by armadillo is challenging. “They’re very difficult to trap and I don’t know if there’s a drug that can scare them off,” Olfenbuttel said.

Robbins agreed, he had trouble getting his first armadillo to study. Mainly because the creatures can perform a very powerful jump within 1 meter, a skill they have developed to break free from a bear’s pounce. Has poor eyesight but armadillo’s hearing is very sensitive

“If it’s really quiet, you can just get up close and grab them by the tail. But be careful because they’re very strong. It’s best to have a bag ready to watch and snap before the jump,” Robbins said.




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