Cattle Mutilation Photos

Adult Angus bull discovered dead and mutilated May 1, 2017. near Choteau, MT. Stereotypical cuts over mandible. Tongue has been excised. Entire blood volume missing on necropsy!

If you’ve never seen a cattle mutilation first hand, these photos will give you a good idea of what they look like. The stereotypical incisions to look for will be seen over the mandible, generally only on one side of the face, sometimes extending over the maxilla and onto the nose. Ears cleanly excised at their base. Eyes sometimes removed (enucleated). Tissue sometimes cleanly excised around eye. Oftentimes the tongue is missing, sometimes down into the hypopharynx at the level of the esophagus. This could not be accomplished without an instrument to hold the mouth open widely. Peri-anal tissue and anus/rectum is often found absent, as well as the uterus and ovaries. In males, scrotum and testicles are often removed. In females, udder often entirely removed, or one or more teats will be cleanly excised. Circular or sometimes square areas of hide will be removed with clean, surgical-appearing edges, in some cases exhibiting  regular serrations. Underlying fascia and muscle layers will look untouched. Oftentimes wound edges will appear to have been cauterized. There will be little to no blood on the ground and sometimes no blood found in the animals vascular system. The entire scene will appear completely mystifying as to how all of this could have been done to such a large and powerful animal.


Mutilated cow discovered with head stuffed into a hole on Haigler ranch, NE. hot courtesy of Linda Moulton Howe. Raising the stakes?

Notably, it seems that these animals are most often left in a location where they are sure to be found, as if the perpetrators want them to be discovered, or at least do not care if they are discovered. Certainly, in the case of the Haigler’s cow (see photo left), those who did this were “raising the stakes”, defying Mr. Haigler and others who investigated the case to “figure out how we did this, if you can!” I ask, if it were the U.S. military or intelligence agencies involved in this phenomenon, why on Earth would they do something like this? Such behavior would in no way help to maintain their “cover of secrecy”. This case marks a turning point in the strategy of those involved in cattle mutilations, a challenge of sort, and we should try to meet that challenge!


Dew claws have been excised. A subtle finding. Be sure to look for this.


Montana case, Cascade Colony, July 2018. Another variation of the stereotypical facial excision seen in almost every case of cattle mutilation. Note how mandible has been stripped completely clean of any tissue. When discovered, this 650 pound calf was lying flat on its back, legs straight to the sky, on a slope, propped up against a rock to prevent it from rolling over!

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Montana case, May 1, 2017. Peri-anal tissue and anus excised. Rancher found no gates down (2 would have had to be opened to access this animal) and had no idea who might have done this. Animal’s entire blood volume “gone missing”!


Montana case, July 2018. This is what you will see – typical of a mutilation. Animal was discovered within 24 hours of death. A blood sample was obtained and has been submitted to UC Davis CAHFS Lab to test for drugs that might have been used to bring this animal down in the field.


Side of face, tongue, and floor of mouth all removed. Wound edges appear to exhibit characteristic serrated edge appearance. Blood on the ground, but how much?

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May 1, 2017, Montana. Adult Angus bull discovered dead and mutilated. Scrotum and testicles are absent, cleanly excised. Penis has been cleanly dissected free of surrounding tissue. Wound margins are precise, not ragged or torn as would be seen if this was done by a natural predator.


The typical appearance of head wounds seen in cattle mutilations.

I worked as an anesthesiologist in surgical operating rooms throughout my professional career. I am familiar with all instruments (surgical scalpel, harmonic scalpel, electrocautery blade (“Bovie”), and laser) used in modern-day operating rooms to create a surgical incision. I am aware of NONE, even today, that create a highly regular, cauterized, serrated-edge effect in the cut skin (or hide) margin you will see in some of the photos below. Certainly such an instrument did not exist during the 1970’s! This is another example of the high strangeness associated with cattle mutilations.


Highly regular serrated edge of cut hide margin.

Having said this, however, the mutilated bull I personally examined DID NOT appear to have serrated wound edges, making this all the more confusing. We know these serrations do happen, but apparently are not encountered in every case of mutilation. If you do see them please obtain good, close-up photos that are in focus. To do this, place your cell phone camera close to the wound and then touch the screen on the area of interest – the wound edge. You will see a square come up on the screen. This area will now be in sharp focus. Take the photo. Please, also cut away a length of that wound margin to retain as an exhibit. Allow it a few days to dry, and then take a photo of it under good lighting conditions.


Dramatic visual of cut wound margin exhibiting precise interval serrations.


Highly regular serrated edge seen in cut hide margin at 4 mm intervals.


Another serrated cut seen in the hide wound margin from a cattle mutilation. Remarkable!


Mutilated calf with left eye removed and ear excised at base.


Why would animal scavengers work this hard to open hide and then stop, as we see here? Wound margins look too smooth/precise for this to be done by a predator or a scavenger. There are wildlife biologists skilled in identifying predators by wound appearance. We could really use their knowledge and insights in these cases! Please write to me your thoughts about this!