Mistakenly labelled as a giant cow, ‘Knickers’ the larger than life steer made headlines last week as he dwarfed a herd of wagyu cattle on his home farm in Western Australia. The 1.94m male, who weighs in at 2,800 pounds immediately went viral and caused a media storm for his owner, Geoff Pearson. “It’s out of control,” says Mr. Pearson of Myalup, Perth, “I didn’t expect it to go as far as it has.”
As the enormous bovine specimen has been winning hearts everywhere, scientists and animal experts have since been trying to explain the relative ‘normality’ of Knicker’s large size. With perspective, males are typically larger than their female counterparts, and male Holsteins in particular are known to stop growing at the 6 foot mark – where wagyu cattle tend to stop at 4’5”.
However at age three, Knickers became too large to be processed by the farm facilities and Mr. Pearson chose to keep him instead. Now at the grand old age of seven, it is assumed that the extra time to gain weight has aided his seemingly gigantic stature, but does not answer why he was so big to begin with.
“We don’t know that ourselves,” Pearson says. “It’s just a freaky thing.” The steer’s parents were not of particularly large build and Knickers himself was average size at birth, leading experts to believe that a faulty pituitary gland may be the cause – or that he may just be a genetic anomaly. Steers of Knickers size consume roughly 100 pounds of hay, 15 pounds of grain and 100 gallons of water a day, and rarely live past eight years. Although he isn’t showing any health concerns right now, Mr. Pearson wouldn’t be surprised if Knickers’ extensive weight caught up with him soon.
The tallest steer on record is an Italian chianina ox, Bellino, who stands at 6’7”.
(Pictures: Geekologie.com, Guardian.com)