Three-Eyed Cow Spotted on Farm: 'Never Seen Anything Like This Before'

A vet made an extraordinary discovery when she came across a three-eyed cow while routine testing cattle on a farm in Wales, U.K., this week.

Malan Hughes was TB-testing cows in Pwllheli, Gwynedd, when she noticed a 4-month-old calf with a particularly unusual feature.

"Vets tend to see all sorts of things—cyclops lambs and animals born with two heads—but I have never seen anything like this before," she told Wales' Daily Post. "From the outside the extra eye looks fine. It has eyelids and eyelashes, and it is moist too, as if some kind of lubricant is being secreted."

However, the vet noted it was so far "impossible to know if anything is going on behind the eye."

Hughes uploaded photos of the animal to Twitter on Monday and has since been bombarded with comments from curious followers.

Can’t quite believe what we spotted today... anyone else ever seen one? 👁 👁 👁 @jakeojones 🐮 #vettwitter #farmvet pic.twitter.com/GnC2Ms3RLR

— Malan Hughes 👩🏼‍⚕️ (@MalanHughes) May 10, 2021

The third eye is most likely the result of a developmental anomaly that occurred before the calf was born and doesn't appear to be causing any problems, the vet said.

"It does not act any differently from any other calf," she told the publication. "As a veterinary practice, we will certainly be treating it with the same care we give every animal."

Hughes said the calf, a dairy cross British Blue, should be able to lead an otherwise normal life.

Three-eyed cows are incredibly rare but some cases have been reported in recent years. One calf with the unusual features was born seven years ago in Tamil Nadu, in southern India, and worshiped as a god.

Villagers reportedly flocked to visit the calf, who was named after Lord Shiva, the Hindu god who is depicted with a third eye, representing wisdom and insight.

Hughes was not as overwhelmed by her discovery. "I took some pictures of the calf and carried on with my work," she said. "That evening I posted them on Twitter thinking that only a few of my regular followers would be interested. I've since had to turn off my phone because of the number of messages I've been getting."

"Send that cow to India, and it will live in absolute luxury, being worshipped for all of its days," one woman suggested. "Only in Greek mythology books!" another added.

In 2019, on the other side of the world in Australia, a three-eyed snake was found slithering at the side of a road by rangers working near Darwin.

X-rays revealed the juvenile snake, which measured about 15 inches, had an extra eye socket on its head. According to a post from the official Northern Territories Parks and Wildlife Facebook account, the snake's third eye was functional.

Rangers said the snake, a carpet python, probably grew its extra eye as an embryo. It's "extremely unlikely" to be the result of environmental factors, they wrote, as naturally occurring malformations are quite common in reptiles.

calf
File photo: A calf seen in Dorset, United Kingdom. A vet came across a three-eyed cow on a farm in Wales this week. Tim Graham/Getty Images