There are countless beautiful animal species roaming the Earth, and among them is perhaps one of the most stunning of all: the horse. Its grace, strength, speed, and intelligence has long made this animal one of mankind’s more cherished four-legged friends.
The birth of a foal itself is a miracle to behold. And, given how much we all love horses, being able to witness this kind of event is truly something special.
However, you might change your tune if you look closely at a foal right after it’s born. It’s truly like something out of a science fiction story. When you see their hooves, you’ll agree…
Take a look at these gnarly things. They’re like something from one of the Alien movies. Can you tell what they are? If not alien-related, perhaps they’re part of a lobster or another sea-dwelling creature. Just check out those squishy bits of flesh—yuck!
Though these photos might look like top secret images taken during an otherworldly autopsy, the reality is something quite different—and actually, quite beautiful. What you’re actually looking at is a foal’s hoof just minutes after it’s been born.
When horses are born, their hooves are covered in a rubbery layer called a deciduous hoof capsule. This capsule covers the sharp edges of the foal’s untried hooves, protecting both the foal and its mother from injury during birth. But why do they have to look so gross, you ask?
Foals need to be able to run from predators from the moment they come into the world, so naturally, they’re born with hooves. You have probably already seen videos of foals getting up and taking their first few steps right after they are born…
So, naturally, this protective capsule does not last long. It develops late into the mother’s pregnancy and only serves to make sure that there is no damage to the birth canal during delivery. The capsule itself quickly wears down to a level hoof as the baby takes its first steps.
People who work with horses describe the capsule as feeling soft and squishy to the touch. That’s so it is easier for the foal to shed it! Mother Nature has designed the horse and her foal to be able to quickly move along after giving birth.
There’s another reason for this kind of weird design: predators are actually attracted to the smell of the horse’s placenta. That means that, once the foal is born, the mother and child have only a limited amount of time to flee to safety.
It should go without saying, of course, that foals themselves are absolutely beautiful and adorable young animals. Just look at these precious little guys! They’re completely irresistible.
It should also be noted that there are major differences between foals and ponies. While any horse under a year old can be known as a foal, ponies are simply smaller, fully matured horses.
Either way, regardless of their age, their size, or how weird and creepy-looking their hooves may be, horses are always amazing, majestic animals who deserve as much love and respect as any other!
While a foal’s hooves might look a little strange when they are born, it’s really just Mother Nature at work. So cool!
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