Cows Swept Out to Sea by Hurricane Found on an Island After Swimming Miles

Doug Williams

Most animals and in the case cows, have an inbred aversion to water, and detest getting wet.

With the possible exception of some breeds of dogs, who love hurtling themselves into lakes or playing at the sea’s edge, animals prefer safe, solid ground and avoid getting wet at all costs.

Science tells us that they can swim, if compelled to, but they just don’t like it. And they certainly wouldn’t choose to go swimming in a storm-tossed sea, not if they could possibly avoid it.

It was a shock, then, to discover that three cows who were assumed to have perished in Hurricane Dorian were, in fact, just fine, and had presumably swum themselves to safety.

To an island several miles from their home on Cedar Island, part of a chain of islands off the coast of North Carolina.

Dorian was a category five storm that ravaged the Bahamas so badly it is considered to be the worst disaster — natural or otherwise — to have ever struck the country.

As the hurricane headed toward the eastern U.S., it dissipated somewhat, but nonetheless heavy winds and rain tore through the Carolinas, and hit as far north as Nova Scotia, on Canada’s eastern coast.

Devastation was widespread, and though it happened in early September, the small island nation is still recovering.

Therefore this small “good news” story, that these cows survived the storm’s wrath somehow, has been welcome to locals and made headlines around the world.

The cows were part of a herd, but others have not survived, B.G. Horvat, spokesman for the Cape Lookout National Seashore park told several media outlets recently.


“Remember, the cows and all the horses were swept away with the water surging back,” he told the independent. “Who knows exactly (how), but the cows certainly have a gripping story to share.”

Many of the wild horses to which Horvat referred were not so lucky; 28 of them, about half of the herd that dotted the island, were swept out to sea and died.

“They (the cows)  likely got swept away (by) the same body of water as those wild horses,” Horvat continued. “These cows were just really lucky, because they went through the same thing, and they could have easily drowned.”

Like most animals, cows are not inclined to swim, but can manage if circumstances compel them to, Horvat explained to CNN News, “but they aren’t the best at it, and that’s what seems to be one of the most remarkable things about this story. I

think they were in the water just trying to keep their heads up, to keep afloat.”

And keep afloat they did, until they somehow made it safely to shore near Cape Lookout National Seashore park, looking a bit waterlogged and bewildered, perhaps, but ultimately no worse for wear.

They are, for the moment, happily grazing on wild grass and drinking fresh water, both of which are available to them on one side of Core Banks Island. Horvat is now trying to locate the cows’ owner and reunited them with the no-doubt frantic farmer.

View from the habor of Cedar Island
View from the habor of Cedar Island

Animals are usually imperilled by mega-storms like Dorian. During Hurricane Katrina, which struck Louisiana and Florida  and their environs in 2005, thousands of dogs, cats, and livestock died, their bodies washing up in gruesome tableaux all over the southern states.

One estimate suggests that as many as 600,000 dogs died during Katrina, but doesn’t begin to reflect the actual number of animals, including livestock, that perished.

Hurricane Dorian had the same devastating effect. The Humane Society in Grand Bahamas reported that dozens of its dogs barked and howled as floodwaters rose and destroyed the building, and the animals soon drowned.

Depressing stories like these make the cows’ lucky fate even more heartwarming.

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It’s no surprise the animals have become famous for their survival, bringing a small glimmer of hope, and a faint smile, to all those who endured the hurricane’s destruction. If only these three cows could talk.


fmssolution is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival