Researchers were at a loss on how to protect cattle in Botswana from predatory attacks until somebody had a bizarre but brilliant idea. They decided to paint eyeballs on the cow's butts. And it's worked magnificently.
Researchers at the University of South Wales painted the eyes on cow butts to stop big cats like lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas from turning the cattle into lunch. In fact, the scientists tried it on 14 different herds, dividing each into three groups: one with butt eyes, one with a cross on the backside, and one au naturel. Over four years, none of the cows with extra eyes were attacked, compared to four with the cross and 15 left unmarked.
Study author Cameron Radford says in a press release: "We think this may suggest the presence of an inherent response to eyes that could be exploited to modify behavior in practical situations-such as to prevent human-wildlife conflicts, and reduce criminal activity in humans." It's unknown whether big cats can figure out the trick, but for now, farmers are thrilled to have a simple, low-cost way of defending their cattle. [IFL Science]