Why painting eyes on the buttocks of cows can save them from predators

Being a cattle-owning farmer in Botswana is no easy feat. To keep their animals safe from hungry predators like lions, ranchers in the region often have to use costly fencing to separate the cattle from the carnivores, and sometimes the farmers may even kill the predators.

But a new study shows that there is a better and smarter alternative to these approaches: painting eyes on cow butts. Yes, that’s right, the findings of a recent experiment show that painting eyes on cow backsides appears to deter lions from attacking.

“Lions are ambush predators that rely on stalking, and therefore the element of surprise, so being seen by their prey can lead to them abandoning the hunt,” said researcher Neil Jordan, a study co-author.

For the study, researchers worked with farmers in northern Botswana to paint cattle in 14 herds (with up to 100 cattle per herd) struggling with lion attacks. As part of the experiment, the scientists painted one-third of each herd with an eye design on the cows’ butts, one-third with simple cross marks, and they left the rest without any markings.

The researchers found that cattle painted with artificial eyes were significantly more likely to survive than unpainted or cross-painted control cattle within the same herd. In fact, the cows without eye markings (15 unpainted and four cross-painted cattle) were killed by predators during the four-year study. What’s also curious was the finding that just painting cross marks is still better than no marks at all.

Solution News Source

Why painting eyes on the buttocks of cows can save them from predators

Being a cattle-owning farmer in Botswana is no easy feat. To keep their animals safe from hungry predators like lions, ranchers in the region often have to use costly fencing to separate the cattle from the carnivores, and sometimes the farmers may even kill the predators.

But a new study shows that there is a better and smarter alternative to these approaches: painting eyes on cow butts. Yes, that’s right, the findings of a recent experiment show that painting eyes on cow backsides appears to deter lions from attacking.

“Lions are ambush predators that rely on stalking, and therefore the element of surprise, so being seen by their prey can lead to them abandoning the hunt,” said researcher Neil Jordan, a study co-author.

For the study, researchers worked with farmers in northern Botswana to paint cattle in 14 herds (with up to 100 cattle per herd) struggling with lion attacks. As part of the experiment, the scientists painted one-third of each herd with an eye design on the cows’ butts, one-third with simple cross marks, and they left the rest without any markings.

The researchers found that cattle painted with artificial eyes were significantly more likely to survive than unpainted or cross-painted control cattle within the same herd. In fact, the cows without eye markings (15 unpainted and four cross-painted cattle) were killed by predators during the four-year study. What’s also curious was the finding that just painting cross marks is still better than no marks at all.

Solution News Source

SIGN UP

TO GET A Free DAILY DOSE OF OPTIMISM


We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously. Privacy Policy