We like to think that appearances should match reality. Sweet-looking people should behave kindly.
Individuals with prestigious positions should behave in a dignified manner. And things that are big should, you know, have big-sounding names.
But for one Australian bovine, his name hardly captures his mammoth bulk. Meet Knickers the Cow.
According to Newsweek, Knickers isn’t really a cow. He’s a steer.
That means he’s a gelded (or castrated) male. And the loss of that part of Knickers’ anatomy saved his life and caused him to break records.
Why? Well, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that castrating a bull does more than making one call him a steer. It also means his growth plates don’t close.
In other words, a bull will eventually reach a peak height and weight, which it will then maintain. But if a steer is allowed to live out a full life, he might just keep growing.
When it came to Knickers, he truly kept growing and growing — and growing. At the current point in time, he weighs more than 3,000 pounds.
To put that in perspective, that’s about 4,000 fast-food hamburgers. I’m not a small guy, rounding out at over six feet tall, but I’d have to peer up to look at Knickers big, black-and-white head.
Veterinarian Rupert Mothersole, who works with dairy cattle, said he has never heard of a bovine as big as Knickers. “We’re going to find that the growth plates, which cause the bone plates to continue to grow, are going to stay open for much longer and that’s going to give you a much more leggy, taller animal. … Obviously, the bulls and the steers are also going to grow larger as we select larger genetics,” he said.
Ironically, it was those genetics that kept Knickers from meeting a different fate. His owner, Geoff Pearson, explained that not slaughtering Knickers initially happened by luck of the draw.
“We have a high turnover of cattle and he was lucky enough to stay behind,” he said. But as year rolled into year, Knickers’ size swelled to something awe-inspiring.
Seeing his opportunity, Pearson tried to auction off the massive steer. Fortunately for Knickers, it didn’t work.
“He was too big to go into the export plant’s chain,” Pearson said. Knickers’ size keeps him from meeting an unspeakable end.
Not that Pearson minds much. “He’s not hurting anyone,” he said.
“You’ll put him in a paddock and all the other cattle seem to get attracted to him. Whenever he wants to get up and start walking, there’s a trail of hundreds of cattle following him. We all know when Knickers is on the move.”
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