1. Goats And Humans Go Way Back!
Goats were one of the first animals to be tamed by humans! Goats were domesticated from the bezoar or wild goat, Capra hircus, in the hills of western Asia and were being herded by early nomadic people as long as 9,000 years ago.
2. Goats Are Navy Mascots!
The US Navy uses goats as mascots. It’s a tradition that harks back to long ago.
In the olden days, goats would provide sailors milk and meat on long voyages across the seven seas. Goats are better suited to life at sea than many other animals due to being sure-footed in rough seas and also being able to swim!
3. Goat is the Most Munched Meat!
Even though – by weight – more beef and pork is eaten, goat is the animal eaten by most people. From Indian goat curry and Nepalese goat tripe to Australian Goat Meat Pie and Morrocan spiced goat meat stew, goats are eaten worldwide by a LOT of people!
4. Goats Need Friends!
Goats are herd animals. When they are left alone, they can be a bit sad. Once, a goat called Mr G went on hunger strike after being separated from his donkey best pal!
5. Goats Are The GOAT At Climbing!
Goats are the GOAT at climbing! After all, they come from the mountains! Goats have specially adapted hooves with hard outer layers that allow them to latch onto tiny ridges and rocky outcrops. Their hooves also have soft underpads that can mould to the bumps in a cliff face – just like a climber’s shoe! Goats have climbed trees, cliffs, dams, telegraph poles and even ponies (see earlier picture!)
6. Goats Are Very Clever!
Did you know that goats are as clever as dogs? They can be called by name and taught to perform tricks. However, it isn’t easy to teach them to obey spoken commands. Usually, goat trainers (yes, it is a real job) use hand signals or a special pointy stick.
7. McGinty The Goat Was Old As The Hills!
The life span of a goat is usually around the same as dogs, but they can live to a much riper old age. McGinty was the world’s oldest recorded goat, living to 22 years and five months!
8. Goats Can Be Billy, Nanny Or A Kid!
The female goat is known as a Nanny Goat, and a male goat is called a Billy – Hence the Billy Goat’s Gruff fairytale. Nanny goats can have around two babies a year. Just like humans, young goats are called “Kids.”
9. Kids Can Walk From Birth!
Unlike human babies, baby goats can stand and even walk within minutes of being born. Those wobbly first steps from a kid serve a purpose: To evade hungry predators!
10. Even Cute Goats Have Enemies!
Turns out that humans aren’t the only creatures that want to eat goats. Goat herders and farmers have to keep watch for a whole bunch of hungry predators. The following list only includes predators that might attack a North American Goat! Coyotes, Foxes, Wolves, Bobcats, Moutain Lions, Bears, Eagles and even Dogs! Phew! That’s a lot of enemies!
11. Goat Kids Have A Unique Call!
Just like the lambs of sheep, each goat kid has a unique bleat. The sound of the bleat (and its particular goaty scent) is how a nanny goat recognises her kid gots from birth. “Where is my kid? There you baaaaa!”
12. Kids Are Fussy Eaters!
Forget everything you know about goats. Just like human kids, they are very picky eaters. Goats use their sensitive lips to feel for clean and healthy plants. Farmed goats will often refuse to eat dirty hay. Just in case you want to give a goat a treat, here’s some food that they love: Carrots, lettuce, bell peppers, pumpkin, apples, watermelon, pears and bananas!
13. Goats Can Do Impossible Maths!
The Goat Problem is a famous maths challenge that is so confusing even the boffins in the Beano Facts Department don’t really understand it! A goat is tied to a fence surrounding a circular pond 3m across. The rope tying the goat is 10m long. What area of grass can the goat eat? We really have no idea! You’d have to be the GOAT at Maths to solve that problem!
14. Goats Have Rectangular Pupils!
Human eyes have circular pupils but goats – like many hoofed animals – have rectangular pupils, allowing them to see almost 340 degrees around without moving their heads (compared to humans 180 degrees). It makes it hard to creep up on a goat, so it’s another excellent adaptation for a prey species with soooo many dangerous predators!
15. Goats Burp Loads!
We’ve saved the best till last. Goats have multiple stomach-like organs. One of these is called a rumen, which can hold up to five gallons of chewed-up grass! The rumen helps break down tough plant material using the process of fermentation.