Who would have ever thought it? Armadillos living in the mountains of North Carolina. The sight of a nine-banded armadillo in western NC was first documented in 2008. The NC Wildlife Resources Commission receives four to six call per year with sightings in western NC.
Presumably the milder winters we have had for the past three years has allowed the armadillo to move into the mountains. The overall expansion of the armadillo has been ten times faster that average rates expected of mammals moving north.
And now we have confirmed sighting in our very own county. A SC high school science teacher was driving up US 276 in Pisgah National Forest when he sighted an armadillo digging for grubs in a ditch by the roadside. He stopped his car and took a photograph of the critter.
Transylvania County armadillo photographed by
(Photo from the Asheville Citizen/Times)
With the finding of the armadillo, the NC State University Cooperative Extension has published recipes for cooking them. Considered an invasive pest, the armadillo can be killed at any time of the year in NC. It is very likely that our colder-than-normal winter this year will drastically reduce the population. The armadillo is not equipped to deal with sub-zero temperatures.
1 armadillo, dressed and cleaned
4 large onions
1 stalk celery
2 cans chopped mushrooms
2 cups uncooked rice
10 cups armadillo broth
salt and pepper to taste
Boil armadillo until tender, reserve broth. Remove meat from bones.
Saute chopped onion and celery in butter. Add mushrooms and meat and simmer five minutes. Put in large Dutch oven and add broth, rice, salt, and pepper. Bake at 375 1 to 2 hours until tender.
Unfortunately, the Extension does not give hints on dressing and cleaning the armadillo.
Armadillos were called "Hoover Hawgs" and their meat saved many a family during the Great Depression. As for me? I'll take a pass on this one.