Another Herd Of Animals Killed By Lightning (Photos)

| by David Bonner
Dead reindeer in NorwayDead reindeer in Norway

It has been a bad week for animals caught in the rain.

On Aug. 28, a herd of 19 cows was electrocuted by lightning in Texas, reports The Telegraph. They were all killed when a single lightning bolt hit a tree.

"All of a sudden, a lightning bolt came down and the cows just fell," Victor Benson, who saw it happen, told KLTV. "In the blink of an eye a lightning bolt, and there was lightning everywhere, but just one [bolt] and it was over."

One day before the lightning bolt killed cows in Texas, hundreds of reindeer died during a storm at a national park in Norway. Authorities there counted the bodies of 323 reindeer.

Two days before that, on Aug. 25, 38 sheep were electrocuted by lightning in India, in the village of Kammalam Poondy.

Although getting struck by lightning is notoriously rare for humans, Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University says it accounts for 80 percent of all accidental livestock deaths, reports the Mother Nature Network.

McRoberts explained why this happens:

Unless there is a barn nearby, livestock are out in the open during thunderstorms, so their chances of being hit are greater ...  And the types of injuries are about the same. One study shows that while about 70 percent of humans struck by lightning still survive, the fatality rate of horses and cattle is much higher. This is because no one is around to treat the injured animal, plus the body mass of the animal is larger than a human, meaning more tissue damage can occur. Often, a rancher will see a dead animal on his property and not see any apparent cause. A necropsy (animal autopsy) often reveals that the animal died from a lightning strike.

Sources: The Telegraph, Mother Nature Network / Photo credit: NTB Scanpix via The Telegraph, Victor Benson via Telegraph, Havard Kjontvedt/Norwegian Nature Inspectorate via Mother Nature Network

Could more be done to protect animals from lightning strikes?
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