EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Students and faculty at Reitz High School got quite the surprise when an unexpected four-legged visitor showed up during a gym class. The class was playing outside in the Reitz Bowl when an armadillo joined in on the fun.
As the Panthers geared up to take on the Eagles tonight, football wasn’t the only action on the field fans were talking about.
“Our head custodian came in and said ”Hey, we have an Armadillo in our bowl,’ and I said, we have a what in our bowl!” said faculty member Julia Stansberry.
That’s right, the newest panther fan isn’t a panther at all. It’s a nine-banded armadillo.
“I said ‘You’re kidding, those are not this far up North.’ He said yeah it is, here’s a picture of it and I went, ‘Okay!’ So then everybody went to the windows looking at this thing running back and forth at the top of the bowl trying to get out,” said Stansberry.
During a gym class, an armadillo hopped out of a burrow on a hill nearby and started running around the Reitz Bowl, as curious onlookers watched through the windows.
“They chased it up to the top and these things can actually jump about 6 feet. I mean we were surprised. It was trying to jump the fence to get out away from us,” said Stansberry.
After cornering the armadillo on the stairs, Animal Control came to the rescue and took the four-legged creature away. Most commonly found in the Southwest, the nine-banded armadillo is the only species of armadillo native to the United States.
“Armadillos you typically find in more arid environments. So Texas, the South, the Southwest. With things like climate change and human development, they might be getting pushed out of their natural environment because they are not native to Indiana,” said Laurie Byers with Wesselman Nature Society. “Like with any wild animal, as long as you don’t mess with them, they usually want to stay as far away as possible from you.”
Animal experts say armadillos do have the ability to bite, but they aren’t typically aggressive. The armadillo was such a hit, it now has its own twitter account under its new name, Armie The Reitz Bowl R-madillo.
(This story was originally published on August 30, 2019)