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Reindeer cyclones are as strange, mesmerizing as they sound

Monday, February 18th 2019, 2:11 pm - Stunning aerial footage shows this unusual defense behaviour.

Meteorologists may have to step aside on this one: There's a new kind of cyclone in town.

Or, perhaps, a very old kind of cyclone, but caught on camera for the first time. While working on a documentary that recently aired on PBS, "Wild Way of the Vikings," filmmakers captured stunning footage of a herd of reindeer displaying defensive behaviour in response to a threat, and the behaviour in question bears a startling resemblance to the kind of weather cyclones we see on satellite.

(RELATED: 'Zombie deer disease' moves into Canada)

When faced with danger, herds of reindeer stampede in these spinning spirals, making it next to impossible for any predator to target a single animal.

WATCH BELOW: RE-CREATION SHOWS REINDEER CYCLONE

According to LiveScience, this kind of stampede has also been observed in herds kept in corrals, provided there are at least 20 to 25 animals in the group. A study published in 2002 found the animals would beging "milling in response to stressing events" and -- oddly enough -- the swirling stampede always "rotated leftwards", or in a counter-clockwise direction.

Sources: PBS | LiveScience | Rangifer |

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