14 “Udderly” Amazing Facts about Cows
Cows aren’t just milk-producing robots with big eyes and a lazy demeanor; they are sentient beings with lives of their own. So, if you’ve ever wanted to know more about these big-eyed, milk-producing bovines, consider the following facts:
- The term ‘cow’ refers to a female cow that has had a calf. Male cows are ‘bulls,’ young males are ‘bull calves,’ and young females who haven’t had any calves are called ‘heifers.’
- The domestic cow dates back 10,500 years ago in southeast Turkey. Their ancestors were wild oxen, otherwise known as aurochs.
- Cattle are not native to the United States. They were brought from Mexico into the present boundaries of the United States in the late 1500s.
- Unlike popular belief, cows only have one stomach. That stomach, however, has four different compartments: the reticulum, the rumen, the omasum, and the abomasum—each serving a specific purpose.
- Cows are ruminants, which means they are cud-chewing mammals. Other ruminant animals include giraffe, deer, sheep, and goats.
- Cows spend 10 to 12 hours a day lying down, and unlike horses, they don’t commonly sleep standing up.
- Cattle are unable to see the color red; the red flags used by bullfighters only catch a bull’s attention because of the movement.
- Cows have eyes located on the sides of their heads, which gives them range of vision of more than 300 degrees (in contrast, people have vision of about 180 degrees). However, they don’t see well straight in front of them so they will typically turn their head to look at you.
- You can lead a cow upstairs, but not downstairs. Their knees can’t bend properly to walk down steps.
- Just like dogs, cows enjoy being rubbed and petted on the head, neck, and back.
- Cows have a superb sense of smell and can detect odors up to six miles away.
- In the winter, a cow’s thick skin and hair becomes a natural insulator that protects it from the cold and wind.
- Cows are very social and don’t like to be alone. They have friendships and pecking order within the herd that includes ringleaders at the apex of the social hierarchy all the way down to plebian-class cows, who get pushed out of the way during feeding times.
- Cows are herbivores, meaning they eat grasses, plants, and corn, but they don’t eat meat.