Sheriffs from Lee County in Georgia got one of the strangest calls of their career recently, when a man who'd tried to shoot an armadillo accidentally ended up injuring his mother-in-law instead.

It sounds like either the perfect crime or the world's worst excuse. But in actual fact the shooting was a complete freak accident.

When Larry McElroy took aim at the creature - widely considered vermin in the Deep South - he was nowhere near his mother-in-law's trailer.

he was nowhere near his mother-in-law when he took aim at the armadillo

Unfortunately the 19mm had ricocheted off the animal's armoured shell, went through a fence and through the wall of the mobile home, striking the old dear in the back.

Fortunately the 74-year-old was not seriously hurt and is currently recovering well. The armadillo was not so lucky - before the bullet bounced it killed the creature.

Apparently a master of understatement Lee County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Bill Smith said: "Just the circumstances, just all the way around, the whole situation was unusual."

He then added: "I really think if they’re going to shoot at varmints and whatnot, maybe use a shotgun with a spread pattern with a lot less range."

Useful advice next time you find yourself assaulting a lightly armoured anteater outside a trailer park.

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