Sheep have some very interesting characteristics. Their fleece, for example, will grow indefinitely and have rectangular pupils.
- Their wool is going to grow forever.
Back in 2004, for six years, Shrek the Merino sheep had been hidden in a cave so he wouldn’t have to be herded. But there was enough wool to make 20 men’s suits for the moment he was cornered and given his long-overdue haircut on New Zealand national television. A sheep named Chris, discovered in Canberra, Australia, dumped 89-pounds of fleece in 2015. According to Dave Thomas, the now retired head of sheep studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the wool of domestic breeds like the Merino will just keep increasing, unlike wild sheep or “hair sheep,” (breeds that naturally shed).
On a similar note, up to 10 miles of yarn can be made from one pound of wool. A sheep can produce between two and 30 pounds of wool a year, depending on the breed, so do the math.
- They have a view of about 360 degrees.
Sheep have rectangular pupils that give them amazing peripheral vision-their field of vision is calculated to be between 270 and 320 degrees; the average of humans is around 155 degrees-and sense of depth. When you’re a prey animal, these are great assets. For the eyes, it’s like surround sound.
- Several are gay.
Other males are favoured by some male sheep. Some females prefer other females. Love is love. Love.
While in almost all animal species there are instances of homosexuality, sheep are the only animals that display a same-sex preference for life besides humans. In flocks of domestic sheep, including though fertile females are present, up to eight percent of males prefer other males. Males will team up with males and females with females in some conditions in many other animal species, but it’s a life-long propensity for sheep.
- The upper lip of a sheep, called a philtrum, has a pronounced groove separating the left and right sides.
Sheep are very selective grazers, preferring stems to leaves and blades, and their philtrum lets them get down to the ground, giving them an edge over other ruminants that can’t go as low.
- If they’re on their backs, sheep can’t correct themselves.
If they have somehow fallen on their backs, sheep that are heavily pregnant, overweight, or have a thick fleece have a very difficult time righting themselves. For the situation, there’s even a word. They’re called sheep-casts. So they’re probably stressed and stressing out if you see one in this place, so find a farmer and help roll them back over. Here’s a video of a helping hand getting a cast sheep.
- There are some strong historical connections between U.S. presidents and sheep.
The sheep were all raised by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Madison was, in fact, sworn in to wear a coat spun from the wool of his sheep. During World War I, Woodrow Wilson kept a flock at the White House to keep the lawn trimmed as a cost-cutting measure and to demonstrate support for the war effort.