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9 Fun Facts About Goats
If you’ve spent any time at our farm, you’ve probably seen, fed and petted our friendly goats in the Petting Zoo. We have various breeds of goats at Cherry Crest, including Boer goats, Nubian goats, Angora goats, and Pygmy goats. Here are some interesting facts that you might not have known about four-legged friends!
1. Despite many references in popular culture, goats generally do not eat tin cans, clothing, or other garbage. In fact, when they are provided with a well-balanced diet, they are actually quite picky eaters! They are browsing animals, so they often chew on non-edible objects out of curiosity—before deciding it’s not good to eat.
2. The scientific name for a domesticated goat is Capra aegagrus hircus. Goats are actually part of the bovine family and are closely related to cows and antelopes.
3. The pupil of a goat’s eye is rectangular in shape. This gives them vision for 320-340 degrees (compared to a human’s 160-210 degrees). They can almost see the whole way around without any blind spots! Other animals with rectangular pupils include the octopus, various species of frogs, and other hoofed animals like cows and horses. Goats have light-colored irises, so their pupils stand out as being strange.
4. The world-famous “fainting goats” don’t truly faint when they get scared. Their muscles are temporarily paralyzed for roughly ten seconds when the goats feel frantic, and this results in them falling over. This occurrence is characteristic of a condition known as myotonia congenita. Studies have shown that older fainting goats learn to spread their legs or lean against something when they’re startled, and can keep themselves from falling over.
5. Super-soft cashmere actually comes from goats! While it’s commonly referred to as a “wool,” it’s actually a type of hair. Cashmere goats have a double fleece that consists of a soft undercoat, and a coarse outer coating (called guard hair). After the goat has been sheared, fleece goes through a mechanical “de-hairing” process, in which the two layers are separated. The soft undercoat is then processed, dyed, and sold as a textile.
6. Both male and female goats can have horns and beards. There are also some species of goats where neither the males nor the females have horns and beards.
7. While the origins of the phrase “get your goat” are somewhat unclear, many people believe that it originated with the practice of stabling a goat in with a racehorse, to keep the horse calm before a big race. Unsportsmanlike competitors would remove the goat in an attempt to agitate the horse and make him lose the race. When you consider that the phrase means “to irritate or upset someone,” the story makes sense!
8. Baby goats were called ‘kids’ first! Records indicate that the phrase was used to describe a young goat as early as 1200 AD. In contrast, the word ‘kid’ wasn’t used to refer to a human child until almost 1600 AD.
9. Lamancha goats have ears that are so small, you might think they were cut off! It is the only breed of goat to be developed in the US, and was first registered by the American Dairy Goat Association in 1958. They were first bred in Oregon by Mrs. Eula Fay Frey.