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But as Dunedin shearer Bill Boyes took layers off what has affectionately been named "the Scroggs Hill Shaggy Swamp Monster", it became clear there was a sheep deep underneath it all.
It had been roaming around the scrub and gullies on Scroggs Hill for at least two years.
"It looked like a shaggy swamp monster. It had loads of sticks and mud stuck in its wool," Mr Misitau said.
"It would kind of be trudging and you could see it was limping because there was quite a bit of weight on it.
"Once we took all that wool off, it was prancing around."
Getting it back up a steep, scrub-covered valley, on the other hand, was a pre-season rugby training exercise unlike any they had done before.
"It took all three of us to get it out of the gully.
"We had to drag it by each leg because it was too heavy to carry, especially up the incline. That took a couple of hours."
Mr Misitau said they were all surprised at how much wool, which weighed in at 16.1kg, was on the sheep.
It had been living wild in the bush beside his property ever since he moved in, and it could have come from literally anywhere, he said.