Friday, April 1, 2011

Freak Week II: Ankole-Watusi Cattle.

"Cows are my frieeends" - GIR, Invader Zim.

Before they were lard-laden milk and meat creatures, cows were considered awesome animals. If one had a cow in ancient Greece, it was a status symbol. A cow is a lot bigger than you think it is. More people are killed by pissing off cows than by pissing off sharks. Again, one wonders whose bright idea it was to steal milk from an animal that could easily run one over.

One is forced to wonder that once more upon seeing how badass some cattle look.


Those giant horns belong to Ankole-Watusi cattle, a breed native to southern Africa. They can deal with almost any sort of climate and sparse resources, making them popular around the world. Plus, those horns look awesome.

Ankole-Watusi cattle were bred for gigantic horns. These not only have a practical use - honestly, a lion would probably run from horns that spread 8 feet from tip to tip - but also look beyond badass. The horns also help the cow maintain body heat in its native habitat.


In Africa, these cows were usually kept by royalty, and are still rarely slaughtered for meat. Live animals were more valuable than dead ones in ancient times. We cannot really blame them for treating cows with such magnificent adaptations as special; their horns and hardiness in the harsh African climate cement their status as the "cattle of kings."

Ankole-Watusi cattle were originally imported as zoo animals. Their zebu lineage and massive horns made them eye candy until the 1930's. Afterward, the cattle made it into private collections. Today most zoos would not dare show off a breed of a domesticated animal; apparently, they just aren't wild enough anymore! (Again, we must gun for a "zoo of freaks.")

That is one horny bull...

As one may have guessed, Ankole-Watusi cattle are primarily ornamental. They do, however, have lean meat and milk rich in butterfat. Some breeders choose to emphasize these commercial aspects; others amplify the exotic look. Take your pick as to which you would choose, but in either case, holy cow!

Tomorrow: Tiptoe through the tulips...

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