Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell

The man tried to kill the animal when he found it in his garden in the US

A Texan man who tried to shoot an armadillo has found himself in hospital after his bullet bounced off the animal and hit him in the face.

Police in Cass County said the unnamed man spotted the small animal “on his property” at around 3am local time on Thursday and decided to kill it.

“His wife was in the house. He went outside and took his .38 revolver and shot three times at the armadillo,” Sheriff Larry Rowe said.

Its hard shell deflected at least one of the bullets, which ricocheted off struck the man's jaw.

Armadillos are famed for their thick skins

The man was airlifted to a nearby hospital in the city of Texarkana, where his jaw had to be wired shut, according to police.

It was unclear whether the armadillo survived the encounter and its whereabouts remains a mystery.

“We didn't find the armadillo,” the Sherrif Rowe said.

It is not the first time an armadillo has exacted revenge on would-be killers in the US.

In April, a man’s elderly mother-in-law was shot in the back after he took aim at one of the armoured animals.

Larry McElroy, 54, tried to kill the creature outside her home in Lee County, Georgia, but it deflected the bullet.

A local television station reported that it bounced off the armadillo, hit a fence, went through the 74-year-old’s back door and through the back of the chair she was sitting in.

Bill Smith, from Lee County Sheriff's Office, told WALB: “Just the circumstances - just all the way around - the whole situation was unusual.”

The woman was not seriously injured.

Armadillos are considered a pest by many people in the southern US, where they dig up lawns, plants and crops.

Additional reporting by Reuters