Two Australian farmers have found what they hope to prove is the world's woolliest sheep. Peter Hazell said he had no trouble capturing the animal, which was wandering with its vision obscured by wool in scrubland on his property in Tasmania's Midlands on Sunday. "He couldn't see very well because of the wool over his face, so I snuck up behind him and grabbed him," he said.
"Then Netty and I went and got the ute and put him in the back and brought him into the yard."
The six-year-old merino ram was immediately dubbed Shaun the Sheep.
Netty Hazell said the sheep's avoidance of the shearing shed had been weighing it down, with Shaun carrying an estimated 20 kilograms of fleece.
"It is the heaviest sheep I've ever lifted," she professed.
"I just couldn't believe it, I just could not believe a sheep could have so much wool."
Shaun's tag suggested he was from a farm on Tasmania's east coast, meaning he had spent the past six years wandering across the state.
Mr Hazell said it was amazing the sheep survived for so long in the wild.
"Because usually they get cast and can't get up, or they get fly-struck or the hot weather gets to them," he said.
The world record for fleece-yield is held by a New Zealand sheep named Shrek.
The Hazells plan to take the clippers to Shaun in the next few days and see if he can take the title.
But despite the wool's length Ray Peters, who is a sheep judge, said it had held up surprisingly well.
"I thought it would be almost impossible for a sheep to go that long and have such good wool on him," he said.
Mrs Hazell said she would enter the fleece in country shows.
"There's three or four good jumpers in there," she said.
And although matted, "it's surprisingly good-quality wool", Mr Hazell added.