A video of an equine escape artist, posted on YouTube in January, has gone viral.
The clip features a handsome, Houdini-like Friesian horse named Mariska, who cleverly opens her stable door with her teeth, before padding over to her friends' stalls to help them escape, too.
The video, which has been watched more than 630,000 times since it was uploaded by user MistySandy, has received plenty of praise from animal-loving YouTubers.
"Omg thats amazing!" exclaimed user SuperHorselover55 in the comments. "That horse is so smart."
Incredibly, according to a January post on the Misty Meadows Farm blog, the nimble-mouthed mare -- who calls the Midland, Mich., farm home -- was not taught to open stable doors.
"We most certainly did not [train her]," wrote Sandy Bonem, one of the farm's owners. "[I]t makes life such a challenge for us. Especially as we have only to forget just one of the back up latches or chains and she finds the weak link! She checks constantly for a way out. Mariska has picked this up on her own over a period of time."
Though Mariska's jailbreak skills may be extraordinary for a horse, experts say that equine intelligence is far sharper than people think. According to Dr. Evelyn Hanggi, co-founder of the Equine Research Foundation, a horse's cleverness is often underestimated.
"Common beliefs maintain that horses have a brain the size of a walnut; horses do not think; horses are merely conditioned-response animals; horses cannot generalize; horses have no sense of concept," she said in a 2011 report on Horsetalk.co.nz. "In reality, horses manage not only ordinary daily cognitive tasks but mental challenges as well."
Mariska is not the first animal to wow the world with her escaping skills. According to Time magazine, an orangutan named Fu Manchu stunned zookeepers in the 1960s, when they discovered he knew how to pick locks with a wire pick that he had learned to keep hidden in his mouth.
(Hat tip, Vetstreet)
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