A horse shot twice with a crossbow by unknown vandals survived after four fellow mares spent three hours taking turns — to lick the wound clean, The Sun reported Tuesday.
The 20-year-old horse, Zeta, was in critical condition after one of the arrows bounced off her rib, while another lodged an inch from her lung as she grazed in a field in the U.K. Owner Jo Young, 39, said the four other horses saved Zeta's life.
"It was really touching that when she was found the other horses in the field were nuzzling her for comfort and licking the wound,” Young said. "They kept the wound clean which would have prevented it from being infected by bacteria. It also helped to stem the blood flow.”
"There was definitely a herd instinct kicking in among the horses. They knew Zeta was in need and they rallied round to save her," he said.
Witnesses saw a group of teenage boys running away from the field at the time of the attack.
The police and RSPCA launched an investigation into the shooting.