• The sheep has been given the name Einhyrningur, which means unicorn in Icelandic. (Erla Porey Olafsdottir)Source: Erla Porey Olafsdottir
"The shepherds saw him through binoculars and had no idea what this thing was."
By
Alyssa Braithwaite

26 Apr 2017 - 1:35 PM  UPDATED 26 Apr 2017 - 1:35 PM

A farming family have discovered a unicorn among their flock of sheep in Iceland.

Among her heard of two-horned sheep, Erla Porey Olafsdottir found a ram whose horns have fused into one in the centre of his forehead, making him literally a unicorn, as the Latin origins of the word - uni and cornu - mean single horn.

Erla's family have named the sheep Einhyrningur, which means unicorn in Icelandic.

“This seems special, and he has a peculiar look because of this," Erla told the Iceland Monitor.

"The horns stretch his face, particularly around the eyes so he always seems to be a bit surprised. He kind of looks like people that have had a facelift."

As is the practice with Icelandic sheep, Einhyrningur was rounded up into the mountains shortly after he was born last spring, and he stayed there throughout summer. 

However, when the sheep were rounded up in autumn he was one of a few sheep that were accidentally left behind. They were found around Christmas time by farmers who initially thought he was a goat.

"The shepherds saw him through binoculars and had no idea what this thing was," Erla says.

"[They] thought at first it was a billy goat with this high horn. Then when they got closer they saw it to be a sheep, with such a peculiar horn. Both horns grow together like one, and split at the end."

She says the unusual mutation has fascinated older farmers - and other sheep, who have given him a bit of hard time, perhaps because he is different. But he is calm and good tempered and getting by just fine, according to the farmers. 

"He quickly finds his own way," Erla says. "The horn gets in his way but he manages to get about his business in a sheepcote even though its not designed for unicorns."

Ice News reports that the family reads unicorn stories together at night and are enjoying having one on their farm  - at least until next spring when he is due for the chopping block.

But his horn may just save him; according to Iceland Monitor, he may find a new home at Reykjavik Zoo.

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