Can cows stand up after tipping

Pushing cows, cattle without sphincters, helpless sheep

Image: colourbox.com

Pushing cows - everyone supposedly did it in their youth. Or at least everyone knows people who want to have done that. Really? No. There are some animal myths that are complete nonsense. But there are also bizarre stories that are actually true.

1. Cow pushing - is that really possible?

Sneaking into a meadow at night and knocking over a sleeping cow - allegedly many did that as a test of courage when they were young. "Cow-tipping" is also a theme in many US series (e.g. "Beavis and Butt-Head" and "The Big Bang Theory") and films (e.g. "Cars"). However, cow pushing is really just an urban legend. The reason is very simple: cattle do not sleep standing up. Also, a person cannot muster enough strength to knock over a full-grown cattle. Occasionally cattle "doze" while standing, but would then withstand such an attack.

Image: dpa / picture-alliance

2. Does a sheep really choke on its back when it lies on its back?

If you watch a sheep lying on its back, it may actually need your help! It happens again and again that a sheep "rubs" itself on the floor - for example because its back is itchy. If it doesn't come up on its own and you don't help it to its feet, it will continue to inflate and eventually suffocate. This happens especially when the sheep is pregnant or lies in a small hollow. So, if you see a sheep lying on its back and unable to get up again, help it!

3. Do older ladybugs really have more points?

Many parents used to tell their children that. But that's nonsense. "A ladybug always has the same number of points", says entomologist Silvia Dorn. So the number of points does not represent the number of years of life. The so-called seven-point ladybird, for example, always has seven points. Apart from that: Ladybugs are far from being seven years old - they only live a few Weeks, a few months at most.

4. Can cows really not swim because they don't have a sphincter?

Allegedly, cows do not have a sphincter and therefore cannot swim. This false claim comes from a satirical article in the taz in 2001. This myth has persisted ever since. In the report a Prof. Dr. Hartmut Andryckzuck quotes (which does not even exist!). He claims: "Due to the lack of the sphincter muscle, cows fill up in the water and are then ... bloody ... gone." Any veterinarian who has had to do examinations on certain parts of a cow can confirm that this is not true.

5. Do young birds die if we touch them?

Many parents tell their children that they should never touch small birds because then they will no longer be accepted by the bird parents and then they will die. But that's not true at all! Because the sense of smell in birds (compared to mammals) is only very poorly developed. Parents of birds therefore accept their brood again without any problems. Nevertheless, you should of course only touch small birds if, for example, they have fallen out of the nest and are now in danger from cats.

Brief summary

Pushing cows - everyone supposedly did it in their youth. Or at least everyone knows people who want to have done that. Really? There are some animal myths that are complete nonsense. But there are also bizarre stories that are actually true.