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For the uninitiated, cow tipping is a prank wherein a human being sneaks up on a sleeping cow and also pushes the animal over top top its side.

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Ask around and you can probably hear around a girlfriend of a friend who properly tipped a cow while out in the nation late one night. The story normally recounts participants having actually a few alcoholic drinks prior to driving to a cow pasture and setting upon a slumbering bovine.

But is the really feasible to pointer a cow?

Well, anything is possible and human beings are quite inventive, yet in the means that cow tipping is generally depicted- no, the is not possible to pointer a sleeping cow.


The very first issue here is that cows don’t actually sleep if standing up, at the very least not in the method we often tend to think of sleep. Cows perform sometimes enter a sort of restful state if standing up, yet while in this state they are conveniently startled and are reasonably well conscious of what’s going on approximately them. Their deep sleep state wake up while lock are currently lying under (something they execute for around 14 hrs per day, with a couple of hours of the time in a deep sleep; the remainder of the time they’re either awake or in your light-resting state).

Another concern with the idea the sneaking increase on a cow that is relaxing while was standing is that at any type of given time in a herd of cattle, a number of the cows are wide awake. Cows might be greatly domesticated pets today, but they still maintain their flight instinct when they suspect a predator is nearby or watch others in the herd that show up startled by something. One cow will very quickly, via your behavior, alarm the rather in the herd if they hear or see anything suspicious, bring about the others to in turn end up being on edge and alert. Provided a stand cow the is relaxing is really easily startled from its resting state, also without any other cows around, this provides the idea of sneaking increase on among these cows even more difficult, if not impossible.

But let’s say you and your friends manage to somehow park your auto within walking distance of a cow there is no alerting that (harder than you think ~ above a quiet country night, even parking a pair miles away), then you manage to hop the barbed wire fence and also creep increase to stated cow there is no alerting the or any other cows in the herd via sound, sight, or her scent. In that increasingly unlikely scenario, would you physically have actually the strength to tip the cow?

Dr. Margo Lillie and Tracy Boechler of the zoology room at the college of brothers Columbia carried out a examine in 2005 to number out the answer come this an extremely question. Lillie and also Boechler determined that it would take roughly 1,360 come 2,910 Newtons of force applied at the optimal angle to reminder an mean cow. (For reference, an average full grown Holstein dairy products cow generally weighs in at roughly 1,500 lbs, despite this deserve to vary by a couple of hundred pounds depending upon a variety of factors). They then approximated that an typical adult human can generate about 660 Newtons of force at the optimal tipping angle. So in theory, ~ above the low finish with a fully static cow, about two world could apply enough pressure to guideline said revolution cow.

The trouble is that a cow would certainly most certainly not continue to be static in such a scenario. And heaven aid you if friend tried to push over one 1800 come 2000+ lb bull. (People don’t generally survive being struck by bulls, i m sorry is most likely what would take place if you tried sneaking increase on one and attempted tipping it over.)

So, top top the high end, follow to Dr. Lillie, overcoming the non-static cow’s capability to brace chin would need in the optimal scenario approximately five people. However even if friend did this, there is the truth that a cow in a state of fall is usually perfectly agile sufficient to simply catch itself and trot away.

In the end, while it is technically feasible for a team of humans to devise a means to reason a cow to tip over, the is, in the practical sense, impossible in the way generally shown when stereotypically inebriated individuals are defined as tipping cows.

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So where did the idea that cow tipping come from? Unfortunately, the price is the no one knows for sure. It has been theorized that the practice of attempting cow tipping most likely came about via offer the same role as snipe hunting- sending a gullible individual out to do some impossible task for the amusement of those in the know. (Although it must be noted that this is a potentially really dangerous snipe hunting style game, particularly if over there is a bull about in the herd.)

As for exactly how this particular “game” gone into the mainstream, stories of it began popping up in the late 20th century and it an especially gained vapor thanks to such movies together Heathers (1989) and Tommy Boy (1995), along with a Season 4 episode of Beavis and Butthead titled “Cow Tipping” (1994) where the duo fail in your attempt at tipping a horse, then were successful at tipping a cow which arrived on Beavis. An ext recently, the 2006 Pixar film Cars depicts Mater and Lightning tipping cow-like tractors.

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Bonus Facts:

An average beef cow (200 kg of usable meat) produces sufficient meat come make around 4,500 hamburgers at McDonald’s.Expand because that References