Painting Eyes On A Cow's Butt Saves It From Being Attacked By Predators

Dhir Acharya - Aug 13, 2020


Painting Eyes On A Cow's Butt Saves It From Being Attacked By Predators

After many methods failed to protect cattle from predators, a new study has found a new, effective way: painting eyes on their butt.

In developing countries, livestock remains one of the main sources of livelihood, so they need to protect those animals as their source of income. This is especially true in Africa where people face challenges in keeping cattle away from predators roaming hungrily.

According to a new study on protecting cattle, carnivores don’t attack cattle with eyes marked on their butt. The study was conducted in the Okavango Delta region, Botswana, Southern Africa.

Out of a sample of 2061 cattle, a third were painted with eyes
Out of a sample of 2061 cattle, a third were painted with eyes

Previously, other solutions were used like keeping the livestock in confined spaces during the night or setting up a fence. However, they still wandered around in the morning and the fences couldn’t stop the carnivores.

The study involved 2061 cattle of 14 herds. Over 4 years, the 683 of them were painted with eyes on their rumps, making a third of each herd protected with the new method. Not all the cattle were painted for the sake of comparison, to see if it worked.

Another third were painted with cross-marks
Another third were painted with cross-marks

In addition, another third of the total cattle were painted with cross marks in their butt. The other cattle were left as normal. It took 49 painting sessions, each of which lasted 24 days, to complete this step.

The result was that the cows painted with eyes weren’t attacked at all, but it’s unclear how the carnivores translated the eye design.

As for the rest of the cattle, of 543 cross-marked cattle, 4 were attacked and killed. And out of 835 unpainted cattle, 15 were attacked and killed. This means even a simple cross-mark can better protect these herbivores.

What we can get from this study is that painting something on a cow’s butt will definitely help protect it from being attacked by predators. However, it’s not safe to say that the method will work forever as carnivores can eventually get used to it and go back to attacking them.

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