Why did a flock of sheep move in a circle continuously for two weeks?

A mysterious video captured a herd of sheep continuously moving in a circle for 14 days in northern China.

Sheep (photo credit: WILLIAM SUHR/CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
(photo credit: WILLIAM SUHR/CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

A flock of sheep was recorded walking in a circle for 14 days without stopping. In a video from earlier this month documenting the rare event, the sheep can be seen spinning in a continuous clockwise motion inside their pen in northern China.

The confusing spectacle left viewers stunned and bewildered as they tried to make sense of the sheep's behavior. The owner of the flock, Ms. Maiu, was shocked by the behavior pattern of the flock and said it started with just a few ewes before other members of the flock joined.

In closed-circuit camera footage, you can see hundreds of sheep following one another in a circle. Other sheep stand in the middle of the circle, and some eventually decide to join the movement while others stay right in the center of the circle completely still.

Where and why did this occur?

The mysterious videos were taken in the city of Baotu in Inner Mongolia on November 4 at a farm where there are 34 sheep pens, but only the sheep in pen number 13 were exhibiting the strange movements.

So far it is not known what caused the sheep to behave this way. The Daily Mail reported that there is a disease that causes some species of animals to appear confused and begin moving in circles. Listeriosis (a disease that is usually transmitted through food infected with the bacterium listeria) can affect part of the brain, causing the sheep to behave strangely. Scientists have long studied why some other animals, such as sharks and turtles move in circular patterns. However, they have not yet come to a conclusion about the cause.