We've all seen Spanish matadors using a small red cape, or muleta, during bullfighting, tempting the bull to charge at himself
Bullfighting originated around the 1700s. Ever since, the belief that bulls really hate the colour red and it makes them go wild has been perpetuated and still very widely accepted
But is it really so? Is it really the colour red that makes a bull charge at? What's the deal here? How much of this is FACT OR FAKE?
FAKE: Actually, it's not the colour red that makes a bull go wild. Bulls, along with all other cattle, are colour-blind to red.
Thus, the bull is likely irritated not by the muleta’s color, but by the cape’s movement as the matador whips it around.
In support of this is the fact that a bull charges the matador’s other cape — the larger capote — with equal fury. Yet this cape is magenta on one side and gold or blue on the other.
Back in 2007, the Discovery Channel's MythBusters tested a live bull on colour versus movement in three separate experiments. Here's what they found out:
First, they put three stationary flags, which were red, blue and white, in the bull’s enclosure. The bull charged all three flags regardless of color.
Next, they put three dummies dressed in red, blue and white in the ring, and again the bull charged all three without discrimination (and actually charged the red dummy last).
Finally, they put a live person dressed in red in the ring with the bull. That person stood still while two cowboys — not in red — moved around the ring. The bull went after the moving cowboys and left the motionless red-clad person alone.
So, if a bull can't see red, why is the muleta in red colour?