10 things you are about to learn about goats

Image Description: a goat eating grass.


Goats have rectangular pupils. This allows a wider range of vision of 340°, so pretty much everything, except what is directly behind them, which is essential for spotting predators and not getting eaten. However, with a rectangular pupil, goats cannot look up or down without moving their heads.

Goats have four stomachs. Their four-chambered stomach helps them to digest the tough roughage that comprises a large part of their diet, such as grass and hay. Their first stomach is the rumen, where food is digested by bacteria via fermentation. It can hold up to 23 litres. The second is the honeycombed reticulum, where indigestible foods are removed. It can hold up to two litres. The third stomach is the omasum, where water is separated from food and retained. It can hold up to one litre. The fourth stomach, the abomasums, is the ‘true’ stomach, which is similar to the stomach of other mammals. It can hold up to four litres. It takes between 11 and 15 hours for food to pass through the digestive system of a goat.

Goats discovered coffee. Please read this with a pinch of salt. According to Ethiopian legend, it was goats that discovered coffee. A goat herder noticed his goats were far more energetic after eating the red berries of the coffee shrub. He then tried them himself, and felt the same great effects, and from this, coffee was discovered. Apparently.

When a goat gives birth, it’s known as ‘kidding’ (and a baby goat is a kid). Nope, I’m not joking.

Abraham Lincoln loved goats. Two of Lincoln’s many White House pets were two goats, Nanny and Nanko. They were especially popular with his son Tad, who frequently rode them around the White House* (* do not try this at home.)

Goats do not have teeth on their upper jaw. Instead, they have a strong dental pad and highly mobile upper jaw for eating the soft, tender leaves of otherwise thorny plants. Their upper jaw is also larger than their lower jaw, resulting in the distinctive rotary grinding seen when they eat.

Goats have accents. The sound of goats bleats varies geographically.

Goats were the first animals to be domesticated. Goats were domesticated 11,000 years ago. This represented a transition of human society from hunter-gatherer to agricultural.

Goats’ tails point upwards. The tail of goat usually points upwards, unless it is scared or sick, while the tail of a sheep typically points downwards. Likewise, most species of goats have horns, and these horns are straight and narrow. On the other hand, most species of sheep are hornless, and those that do have horns, have curled horns. Finally, goats’ coats show determinate growth, where they grow to a certain length and stop, whereas sheep coats continue to grow until shawn.

Most species of wild goat are endangered. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, which is the list of endangered species such as pandas, rhinos, etc., also includes many species of goat. 


Image Credit: Pexels via Pixabay