why does a bull chase something red

Bullfighting conjures a common image: An angry bull charging at a matador s small red cape, the
muleta. But, why does the beast charge at the sight of red? Actually, it doesn t. Bulls, along with all other cattle, are. Thus, the bull is likely irritated not by the muleta s color, but by the cape s movement as the matador whips it around. In support of this is the fact that a bull charges the matador s other cape the larger capote with equal fury. Yet this cape is magenta on one side and gold or blue on the other.


Still don t believe it? In 2007, the Discovery Channel s MythBusters tested a live bull on color versus movement in three separate experiments. First, they put three stationary flags, which were red, blue and white, in the bull s enclosure. The bull charged all three flags regardless of color. Next, they put three dummies dressed in red, blue and white in the ring, and again the bull charged all three without discrimination (and actually charged the red dummy last).


Finally, they put a live person dressed in red in the ring with the bull. That person stood still while two cowboys not in red moved around the ring. The bull went after the moving cowboys and left the motionless red-clad person alone. So, if a bull can t see red, why is the muleta red? The small cape comes out in the last stage of the bullfight, when the bull meets its end, and its color helps mask one of the more gruesome aspects of a bull fight: splatters of the animal s blood. Just don t tell that to everyone s favorite pacifist cartoon bull, Ferdinand: Explanation: Spanish matadors began using a small red cape, or muleta, in bullfighting around the 1700s.


Ever since, it seems, people have perpetuated the color-charged myth that red makes bulls go wild. An 1,800-pound bull can hook a grown man with his horns and toss him 30 feet in the air, so the MythBusters set out to find a way to test this myth в carefully. They decided to put makeshift matadors into an arena, each holding a flag of a different color, and wait for an angry bull to see red.


The red, blue and white flags got equal, half-hearted attacks when they were motionless. In order to elicit an aggressive charge response from the bull, the flags had to be waved. Turns out, the color red isn't what causes bulls to attack. In fact, bulls don't seem to have any color preference at all. They'll charge whichever object is moving the most, which means this old myth can get tossed right out of the ring.

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