(ORDO NEWS) — A herd of sheep in China has been going in circles for almost two weeks now, and no one seems to really know why. The strange behavior was captured on CCTV cameras at a sheep farm in northern China.
In a video released on Wednesday by China’s state-run news outlet People’s Daily, dozens of sheep can be seen walking clockwise in a circle while other animals stare from outside the circle.
While the sheep have been reported to appear perfectly healthy, it is not clear if the animals ever stop to eat and drink, or if others take their place in the circle when this happens.
A sheep farm owner who identified herself as Ms. Miao told reporters that the strange spectacle began on November 4 with a handful of sheep, but dozens of others joined in the following days.
Interestingly, although the farm consists of 34 sheep pens, only sheep number 13 behaved strangely.
A video of sheep walking in circles went viral in China shortly after being posted online by People’s Daily, and several theories about the strange movement have since surfaced.
The most popular theory is that the sheep are infected with a bacterium that causes a condition known as listeriosis, also called circle disease.
According to the Merck Manual, “Initially affected animals suffer from anorexia, depression and disorientation. They can hide in corners, lean against fixed objects, or circle towards the affected side.”
However, the above theory has already been challenged because listeriosis-affected sheep and goats usually die within 14 to 48 hours of the first symptoms.
The sheep in the viral video have been doing this for 12 consecutive days and they seem perfectly healthy.
While this behavior is considered unusual, it is not unheard of. A similar situation occurred in 2108, when a hundred reindeer on the Kola Peninsula in Russia walked in circles for no apparent reason.
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