The Great Sheep Mystery: Why Are Dozens of Sheep Walking in a Circle?

Well, here’s some weird news for ewe. A flock of sheep in China’s Inner Mongolia region started walking in a circle on Nov. 4 and hasn’t stopped since. A news outlet run by the Chinese state tweeted the video on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

And as of this writing, the ambulating ungulates are still on the promenade.


According to Metro, the perambulation began with just a few sheep, then grew quickly as more animals joined the circle. Metro also reports that while Ms. Miao — the flock’s owner — has 34 sheep pens, only the animals in one pen are exhibiting the behavior. The pen in question?

Inauspiciously, it’s number 13.

It’s unclear exactly how many sheep are participating in the circle. Some sheep appear to join and leave the procession repeatedly, while others are standing in the centre of the circle, observing.

Journalists for ExplorersWeb attempted to count the animals but fell asleep shortly thereafter.

Possible causes?

Some outlets are speculating as to possible causes of the bizarre behavior, with a brain infection called listeriosis being the primary contender. Listeriosis inflames one side of the brain, causing unilateral facial paralysis, head tilt, and other symptoms that might cause a flock of sheep to walk in a circle.

But it also just might be one of those things. It’s a weird planet!

Andrew Marshall

Andrew Marshall is an award-winning painter, photographer, and freelance writer. Andrew’s essays, illustrations, photographs, and poems can be found scattered across the web and in a variety of extremely low-paying literary journals.
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