Tipping A Cow Would Be Way Harder Than You Think

It's a popular tale of teenage tomfoolery: cow tipping. But the science behind what it would take to tip a cow suggests cow tipping is almost totally impossible. Why is it so difficult? First of all, cows don't sleep standing up. So to tip a cow, you would need to approach one that is awake and standing. The 1,400-pound animal certainly wouldn't be patient enough to stand still and wait for you to try to push it over. In theory, two people might be able to tip a cow, but the circumstances under which that would be possible would probably never exist. The animal would respond by pushing back into you, while also widening its stance to create a sturdier base. The myth became something of a pop culture phenomena after the supposed past-time was mentioned in movies such as "Heathers" and "Tommy Boy."

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Cows don't sleep while standing up. They enter a restful state while standing, but they're easily woken in this state. 00:42

  2. One scientist estimated that to overcome a cow's ability to brace itself and completely tip it over, you'd need five people. Still, a cow is usually agile enough to catch itself and trot away. 02:59

  3. Stories of cow tipping began popping up in the late 20th century, and it gained steam after movies like Heathers and Tommy Boy. 03:52

Written by Curiosity Staff June 8, 2016