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Hey-Diddle, A Fiddle And A Moon-Jumping Cow? NPR Moos Investigates

Yes, indeed, cows can leap. Here, Regina Mayer jumps with her cow Luna — yes, <em>Luna — </em>over a hurdle in southern Germany, in 2011.
Kerstin Joensson
Yes, indeed, cows can leap. Here, Regina Mayer jumps with her cow Luna — yes, Luna — over a hurdle in southern Germany, in 2011.

You know the nursery rhyme:

Hey diddle diddle
The cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed
To see such sport
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Modern Farmer magazine, which is currently celebrating "Cow Week," took a good, hard look at the bovine portion of that rhyme. Tyler LeBlanc wrote this expose of sorts, and NPR's Wade Goodwyn asked him whether a cow jumping over the moon is as ridiculous as a cat playing the violin. Here's what he says:

Can cows even jump? Yes, LeBlanc says. "When I first thought about it, I kind of just assumed cows couldn't jump at all — I don't know why, probably just because of their size," he says. "But strangely enough, they can jump. There's one incident I found from some English newspaper where a cow apparently jumped about six feet up onto the roof of a barn."

Has a cow ever been around the moon? "Not unsurprisingly, they've never sent up a cow."

Could a cow go around the moon? "They have sent a few animals to the moon. The Russians were the first to do it," he says. They sent turtles and worms up in a "biological payload" that traveled around the moon. "Unfortunately they all kind of burnt up on re-entry, but it's not hard to think that you could put a cow in there and send it to the moon, if you wanted to."

Should a cow circle the moon? "I can't say I'm in favor," LeBlanc says — especially if it were to go the way Russia's animal voyage went. "It would be space barbecue."

This is NPR Moos.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR Staff