A flock of sheep runs in circles for almost two weeks continuously. The mystery has gone viral on social media.
A herd of sheep has been caught running in a circle for at least 12 days in China , in a mystery that has gone around the world on social networks.
The images have caused strangeness and have gone viral, but from England a scientist has argued a reason for this behavior.
The great sheep mystery! Hundreds of sheep walk in a circle for over 10 days in N China’s Inner Mongolia. The sheep are healthy and the reason for the weird behavior is still a mystery. pic.twitter.com/8Jg7yOPmGK
— People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) November 16, 2022
imitation of the herd
Matt Bell, professor and director of the Department of Agriculture at the University of Hartpury, points out that one possible answer is herd imitation.
As he comments, these animals have a social instinct that tells them to follow the animal in front of them to avoid predators and protect the other members of the group.
” Sheep appear to be in the pen for long periods, and this could lead to stereotypical behavior, with repeated circling due to frustration at being in the pen and being limited [as to where they can go]. This is not well,” he told Newsweek . “Then the other sheep join in like herd animals.”
For days, authorities and experts have tried to explain the ethological reason for the events. However, all the official and expert versions contradict each other, in such a way that it is difficult to extract the correct explanation. According to other experts, the explanation lies in the fact that sheep suffer from listeriosis, a bacterial infection that, in the case of sheep, one of its symptoms is circling.
However, the Chinese authorities, according to the Asian media People Daily , affirm that the sheep are healthy and deny the existence of any outbreak of this bacterium on the farm.
The sheep had been displaying this behavior since November 4. The animals moved like this for at least 12 days and it is not clear if they stopped at intervals to eat or drink or if the sheep constantly continued their movements.
The owner of the farm, identified as Ms. Miao, told local media that at first only a few sheep displayed such behavior, but gradually the entire flock began to follow suit.