Have you ever seen sheep standing in the rain or snow and wondered why they don't run inside? Are they just really stupid animals? There is something about sheep's wool that seems to keep them comfortable in wet conditions. Take our quiz to learn about what happens to wool when it gets wet.
There are a few animals, including sheep, whose outer layer is wool rather than fur.
The United States, with about 6.1 million sheep, is nowhere near the top of the world sheep population.
If you go to New Zealand, you'll hear people joke that the sheep outnumber the people by 20 to 1. That's a bit of an exaggeration, though.
There are currently around 4.5 million people living in New Zealand.
Recent statistics show that there are more than 34 million head of sheep in New Zealand!
While it may not be 20 to one as the joke goes, eight to one is still a significant ratio!
Eight to one is not a ratio that could possibly work in the United States, as that would require approximately 2.4 billion of the wooly mammals.
The United States produces approximately 46.5 million pounds (21 million kilos) of wool each year.
The vast majority of wool is shorn from sheep during the spring months.
You should expect the average sheep to yield about 8 pounds of wool.
On rare occasions individual sheep in other parts of the world have yielded 30 pounds of wool!
Wool is naturally resistant to fire. It does burn, but it self-extinguishes when removed from the flame.
Wool is fire resistant and self-extinguishing because each fiber of wool contains moisture.
Wool is very strong, and extremely flexible material.
Wool is so strong and flexible that a fiber can be bent more than 20,000 times without breaking. It is comparatively stronger than steel.
Cotton fibers, unlike wool, can be bent only about 3,000 times before they break.
Wool can stretch more when wet than when dry. When wet it can be stretched by as much as 50 percent.
Humans domesticated sheep in 8000 B.C. and have been using their wool ever since.
Wool is a hygroscopic insulator, which means that it can soak up a lot of water without feeling wet.
Wool can soak up around 30 percent of its own weight without feeling wet.