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Switzerland's six-legged calf goes global

Switzerland's six-legged calf goes global

Published: 30 Mar 2012 09:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Mar 2012 09:35 GMT+02:00

Lilli the six-legged calf has become a global sensation since her first major photo shoot in a Swiss newspaper this week.

Born at a farm in Simmental, canton Bern, Lilli's extra limbs have put her on the most read lists of news websites the world over. 

But pun-heavy headlines in the Daily Mail and Washington Post were the last thing on farmer Andreas Knutti's mind when he welcomed Lilli into the world two months ago.

Knutti was expecting a normal birth, but then realised that the calf was in breach, online news website Blick reported earlier this week (with photos).

This meant that the calf was upside down and that its feet would come out first. He called the vet to assist.

Both farmer and vet were shocked when the calf emerged with two extra legs attached to her back.

At first the vet feared that the newborn would not survive, but Knutti couldn't find it in himself to let the vet put her down.

“She was so alive, so impetuous,” the farmer said.

At seven weeks old, Lilli is eating and drinking healthily. However her spine is curved and it is not clear whether she will develop into a normal cow.

“Even if she is not a normal milking cow, I do not want to get rid of her,” Knutti said of Lilli. “Perhaps we will find a zoo for her.”

Six-legged cattle are extremely rare. Four years ago in Bavaria a calf called Lissy was also born with six legs.

It was thought in the German case that two embryos fused into one, with only the legs of one being left over as evidence of its former existence. She was operated on and now lives in a cattle sanctuary in Austria.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

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