Is the 'Big Cow' All an Illusion? Why Knickers Isn't as Giant as He Seems

Turns out, Knickers the steer is standing among a herd of tinier cattle, making him seem all the bigger.

Is Australia really the land of the "giant cow"?

Knickers, the 6-foot-4 tall bovine, went viral for his shocking size. Turns out, it’s partly an illusion.

The Washington Post revealed Knickers looks much bigger than he is because he is surrounded by wagyu cattle, a breed that averages only about 4.5 feet tall.

The rest of the cattle in the shot are also only about a year old, while Knickers is 7 years old and fully grown.

“He looks so huge next to those yearlings,” Mike Stura, owner of Skylands Animal Sanctuary in New Jersey, told Inside Edition. “Even a bus, if you park it next to your house it looks huge. If you park it next to a skyscraper, it doesn’t look so huge.”

And despite his moniker, Knickers is not a cow at all.

The term “cow” refers to females that have had at least one calf, while a steer, which is what Knickers is, is a male bovine that's been castrated before reaching maturity. Knickers' breed, a Holstein Friesian, is also known for growing quite large.

“The Holstein boys are massive, they just aren’t usually allowed to grow to their full size,” Stura said. “Their moms would have been dairy cows. It’s not often that we see the males of dairy types fully grown.”

Even so, Knickers is big for his breed. While most Holstein steers weigh just under a ton, Knickers weighs around a ton and a half – about the size of a small sedan. Knickers is also around a foot taller than the average Holstein steer.

The record for the world’s tallest steer, however, is held by an Italian Chianina ox named Bellino, standing at 6-foot-7.