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Seven-legged lamb born

A six-day-old lamb at a veterinary clinic on New Zealand's South Island bleats like any other newborn sheep, but is rather different in other ways.

This lamb has seven legs, local media reported today.

Two of the extra legs hang uselessly behind the lamb's forelegs. The animal has three hind legs, one of them with two hoofs. It walks using its two forelegs and three hind legs, the Ashburton Guardian newspaper said.

The lamb was born last Friday on the farm of Dave and Di Callaghan.

Mr Callaghan said he was surprised to find the creature, born with a twin, walking round in the paddock with its mother and normal twin sibling.

"I have never seen anything like that," he said.

Veterinarian Steve Williams at the Canterbury Vets clinic in the rural town of Methven said he believed an error during embryo formation had resulted in the lamb being born polydactyl - with many legs - a condition that occurs once in several million sheep.

He said the lamb was also hermaphrodite and missing a portion of its bowel so was unable to pass faeces and would have to be destroyed.

"To keep it alive is probably inhumane really," he said.



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