WATCH: Hundreds of Sheep Have Been Mysteriously Walking in a Circle for Over 10 Days

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Heiko Rebsch/picture alliance via Getty Images)

A flock of sheep in China has mysteriously been walking in circles for days, and the strange phenomenon has the internet perplexed. Since the sheep began circling nearly two weeks ago, hundreds of the furry farm animals have joined their flock mates.

What makes the incessant circular motion of the flock even weirder is that all of the sheep are reportedly healthy, with no unusual physical cause for this strange behavior.

Viewers, with their own takes on the sheep’s ritualistic circling, flocked to the comments of the original post with various explanations.

“Looking for a shepherd, no doubt,” one viewer quipped. Another suggested, “Maybe they are in migration mode but they can’t because they are in a cage?”

A third commenter recalled other strange incidents of animals circling and acting strangely in other regions around the globe. They said, “The white rhino at the Nairobi national park has also been walking in circles but anticlockwise. A police station in Maragua has witnessed thousands of bats flying above the station for two days in a row day and night.”

Scientists Working to Breed Sheep That are Less Gassy

While humans are the major cause for most of the globe’s greenhouse gas emissions, livestock animals also play a heavy role in the pollution as well. In order to lessen the impact of sheep on the current climate crisis, scientists are working to form a breed of these creatures that, essentially, fart less.

And you thought circling sheep were weird.

A group of scientists, working out of the Invermay Centre in Mosgiel New Zealand, have taken the lead on this scientific experiment. The ultimate goal is to alter the genes of sheep in their particular country to produce around 10% fewer methane gases than their naturally gassy cousins.

But how exactly will these scientists help this gene-altered sheep in becoming less gassy? Well, just like with humans, it has to do with their diet. The scientists heading the project plan to alter the animals’ genes in such a way that they eat less overall.

Suzanna Rowe, a geneticist with AgResearch, said of the undertaking, “The lower emitting animal tends to eat smaller meals.”

As ridiculous as it sounds, these scientists have strict methods for studying the levels of gassiness in sects of sheep. They essentially began by recording the amount of methane released by a large group of sheep. This group was then split into two smaller groups: one that was found to produce less methane and one found to produce more. In studying these groups, the scientists found that certain levels of gas emissions can be heritable, with experts focused on breeding animals that eat less and produce less methane.

Of the study, Rowe said, “We are hoping to provide—within the next 12 to 24 months—breeding values to the industry for methane.”