Cows are big animals that spend their days eating and hanging out in the fields. While most people may not consider them interesting, they are unique in more than one way. By learning a bit about these animals, we can begin to understand their importance in the world and offer them a bit more consideration.

Read on below to learn a few fascinating and fun cow facts you never knew but will be thankful you discovered.

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Top 15 Fascinating Cow Facts:

1. Cows Came From Turkey

Cows, as we know them today, originated from wild oxen also known as aurochs. These oxen were first domesticated in Southeast Turkey over 10,500 years ago. The wild aurochs eventually went extinct, but their lineage lives on in our domestic cows, wild yaks, and water buffalos.

Cow grazing in green grass
Image Credit: arnolgs, Pixabay

2. The Difference Between Cows and Bulls

Female bovines are known as cows, while males are called bulls. However, cows have additional distinctions stemming from their age, purpose, and sex. Bulls are males who are used for breeding. Steers, on the other hand, are males who are castrated and used for beef. A heifer is a female cow that hasn’t had its first calf. While a bred heifer is carrying a calf. Different farmers use other names to distinguish their cows and bulls. This is often passed down from their families.

3. Cows Have Panoramic Vision

Yep, it’s true! Cows have one of the best views in the world. With their panoramic vision cows have a 360-degree view of the area around them. This helps them keep an eye out for would-be predators or humans who venture into their fields.

Cow standing in the grassy field
Image Credit: AnitaBozic, Pixabay

4. Cows and Bulls Can’t See the Color Red

If you’re a fan of bullfighting, it may upset you to realize the bulls can’t see the red flag being waved at them. Neither could a cow. This is because they are color blind. The reason bulls rush at the matador is the action itself. They aren’t overly thrilled with someone waving and jumping around with a flag in their face.

5. Cows Can Smell Up to 6 Miles Away

Another way cows can detect dangers around them is with their noses. A cow can smell up to 6 miles away. This alerts them to strangers entering their domain or possible predators trying to sneak up for a meal.

guernsey cow
Image Credit: critterbiz, Shutterstock

6. Cows Eat a Lot in One Day

It’s easy to see that cows are big eaters. You wouldn’t expect it but they do have high metabolisms. This requires them to eat up to 100 pounds of food and drink 40 gallons of water on a given day. Just imagine the time it takes for them to eat and drink that much.

7. Cows Like to Be Social

Cows don’t like to be alone. Cows tend to spend time together with the others in their herd. They’ve even been known to make friends with other cows and spend more time with the ones they like best. If you see a cluster of cows together in a field, most likely they are besties.

salers cow and her calf_
Image Credit: Fabien Monteil, Shutterstock

8. Cows Are Great Swimmers

Over the years, ranchers have come to realize cows can take to the water. Swimming cattle is a common way to move cows across rivers and streams. You’ll also find that cows may make their way into the water on hot summer days to cool down and escape the onslaught of summer bugs.

9. Cows Are Sacred in the Hindu Culture

In Hindu cultures, cows are beloved animals. They walk down the streets at will and are invited to be part of many local traditions. In some areas, there are even laws featuring strict punishment for those who harm or kill cows.

Watusi cows walking
Image Credit: dendoktoor, Pixabay

10. Cows Aren’t Big Sleepers

While sleep is something we humans are constantly hoping for, cows don’t need a lot of it. You may notice cows lying down a lot, but this is just their way of resting. Cows only truly sleep roughly 4 hours a day. This sleep comes in short intervals throughout the day.

11. Cows Emit Greenhouse Gas

Like other animals and people on this planet, cows pass gas. Considering all the food they eat in a day, it’s understandable. One cow can burp more than 200 times a day, and well, let’s not even think about the other gas they pass. This is why cows and other livestock are responsible for 14.5% of greenhouse emissions.

Fleckvieh cow
Image Credit: Elliotte Rusty Harold, Shutterstock

12. Cow Tipping is a Myth

If one of your friends has told you a story about sneaking into a local cow field, sneaking up on an unsuspecting cow, and tipping it over they aren’t being overly honest with you. First off, cows would smell the intruder. Secondly, look at their size. Do you think a single human could simply tip them over? At roughly 1500 pounds this would be no small feat. Thirdly, cows sleep lying on the ground. You would be hard-pressed to catch one on its feet and unaware enough to knock it over.

13. Cows Have Strange Stomachs

A cow’s stomach has four parts or pouches. When a cow eats the food enters the rumen, the largest part of its stomach. When this part gets full, the cow will lie down and the reticulum gets to work pushing the food back into its esophagus. After the food is rechewed it moves into the omasum where water is filtered. After the food is broken down here it moves to the abomasum which is similar to our stomachs.

Scottish highland cow grazing
Image Credit: Stelogic, Pixabay

14. Cows Who Receive More Affection Produce More Milk

When a cow gets stressed, it won’t produce milk. This is why many farmers decide to name their cows and form strong bonds with them. The more used to the humans a cow becomes, the easier it is to milk them. When feeling comfortable, the cow will produce more milk for their human companions.

15. Cows Chew a Lot

Cows don’t have upper teeth. They do have bottom teeth though and yes, they put them to good use. On average, cows move their jaws 40,000 times a day. Each piece of grass or cud they chew gets a complete workover. Cows chew their food at least 40 times in one minute.

Girolando cow grazing
Image Credit:, Shutterstock

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As you can see, cows are truly fascinating creatures. Yes, they are known for providing the world with dairy and beef, but there is more to them than meets the eye. Learning about these amazing animals is a great way of understanding the world around us and being thankful for what cows offer us each day.

Here’s another interesting article on cows:

Featured Image Credit: pen_ash, Pixabay