Aussie sheep eyes Shrek's world wool record

LIAM HYSLOP
Last updated 08:52 26/08/2014
Reuters

A sheep who has gone unshorn for years could be sporting a record-setting wool coat.

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The Aussies are at it again, once more trying to steal a Kiwiana icon.

Not content with claiming the pavlova and Phar Lap, our friends across the ditch have attempted to claim the record for the world's woolliest sheep off Shrek.

New Zealand's most famous merino evaded muster for six years by hiding in caves, but was eventually captured in 2004 and shorn of 27 kilograms of fleece - a world record which still stands.

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His fleece provided enough wool to make 20 men's suits.

He was euthanised on veterinary advice in 2011.

But now a huge Tasmanian merino has appeared on the scene, also after spending six years in the wilderness, The Times reported.

Ray Peters, a wool judge, said the ram, dubbed Shaun the Sheep after a children's television show, had the heaviest fleece he had ever seen and believed it would rival the 27kg fleece taken from Shrek.

Peter Hazell, the farmer who caught the animal, told The Times he managed to capture the woolly wanderer because it had so much fleece on its face it couldn't see him coming.

"He couldn't see very well because of all the wool over his face, so I snuck up behind him and grabbed him."

Hazell's wife, Netty, told ABC News the sheep's avoidance of the shearing shed had been weighing it down.

"It is the heaviest sheep I've ever lifted," she said.

"I just couldn't believe it, I just could not believe a sheep could have so much wool."

Shaun emerged from woods near Hazell's farm in central Tasmania. He is believed to have never faced a shearer.

A tag discovered on the animal suggested it had strayed from a property on Tasmania's east coast and roamed the forest for years.

Just how woolly Shaun's tale is will be known this week. He has an appointment with a shearer.

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