Goat - Description, Habitat, Image, Diet, and Interesting Facts (2024)

A Goat is any member of the taxonomic genus Capra. This group includes nine different species. The domestic Goat is a subspecies of the wild Goat (Capra aegagrus). For our purposes, we will focus on the domestic subspecies in this article. Read on to learn about the Goat.

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Description of the Goat

These mammals share a few distinct characteristics. They have hooves on their ends of their feet, and they stand on two primary “toes” rather than a single hoof like a horse. Most breeds also have horns that grow from the tops of their heads.

The various breeds come in a number of different sizes. The largest breeds reach about 2.5 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 300 lbs. or more. Males generally reach larger sizes than females.

Interesting Facts About the Goat

These charismatic creatures have a number of interesting traits and adaptations. Learn more about what makes them unique, below.

  • Early Domestication – People domesticated these creatures as one of the very first domesticated animals. Researchers believe that humans began the domestication process at least 10,000 years ago.
  • Goat’s Milk – Some people drink Goat’s milk, but they produce only 2% of the world’s milk supply. However, many people use their milk to make cheese and other dairy products.
  • Human Reliance – Queen Mary University in London conducted a study with these mammals and found that they seek aid from humans when they cannot accomplish a task. When the researchers presented a box to the Goat with a treat inside and they could not open the lid, the Goat move toward humans before returning to the box.
  • Catgut – People use part of the intestines of Goats and sheep to produce catgut. They use the catgut in musical instruments, and as dissolvable stitches for internal wounds. People still use catgut for these purposes to some extent.

Habitat of the Goat

As a domestic animal, people generally choose the habitat in which these creatures live. However, some feral populations do exist. For this reason, you can find these animals in rocky mountainous regions, meadows, taiga, and more. Generally, people keep these Goats in farmland, woodland, scrub, and other similar habitats with plenty of grass and shrubbery to eat.

Distribution of the Goat

You can find various breeds across the globe, virtually anywhere humans live. Researchers believe that the original descendants of our modern domestic Goats lived in Asia. However, you can now find these creatures on every continent except Antarctica. Feral populations also live in Australia, Hawaii, the Galapagos, and more.

Diet of the Goat

These mammals have herbivorous feeding habits. They eat a variety of different plants. Unlike cows and sheep, these creatures do not graze, but browse on virtually all plant matter. This means that in addition to grass they also eat shrubs, bushes, leaves, and virtually any edible plant matter.

When people keep these animals on empty lots or areas without adequate plants and grasses, they must provide commercially produced pelleted food and/or hay for them to eat.

Goat and Human Interaction

The domestic variation of these creatures would not exist without human interaction. Thousands of years ago people selected and bred only the most docile, friendly, personable individuals and over many generations the domestication process occurred.

People use and have used these mammals for a wide variety of purposes. They keep them as pets, breed, them, show them, use their milk, hide, and meat. Some people also use them to clear bushes and shrubbery from areas.


Researchers believe that humans began the domestication process of this species at least 10,000 years ago. Archaeologists discovered the remains of the earliest domestic examples of these creatures in Iran, and the remains date back to 10,000 years ago. They have also found similar remains throughout the Middle East and Asia.

Does the Goat Make a Good Pet

Yes, these mammals can make wonderful pets to the right people. Most, with proper socialization, have incredibly friendly demeanors. However, you must provide ample space and pasture for them to graze and exercise, medical care, and shelter from the elements.

Goat Care

As social animals, people keep these creatures in groups known as herds. You must provide plenty of grass or shrub for them to eat, and supplement that with pelleted feed or hay as necessary.

Additionally, these creatures can fall prey to predators quite easily, and must have secure fencing to keep them safe. Many people use dogs or donkeys as livestock guardians to protect the herd from predators.

Behavior of the Goat

These mammals are well known for their curious and friendly nature, and their propensity to eat just about anything. In reality, these mammals do not eat everything, but they will nibble and investigate anything that they deem particularly interesting. They also enjoy climbing, and often climb trees and rocky outcrops.

Reproduction of the Goat

Different breeds reach sexual maturity at different rates. When females, known as does, come into season, or heat, the males, known as bucks, enter rut. During rut, they release pheromones and urinate on themselves. After mating, the gestation period lasts about five months. Most females give birth to two or three offspring, known as kids.

Beliefs, Superstitions, and Phobias About the Goat

People have featured these animals in a number of different mythologies, religions, folklore, and even used them as sacrifices for religious ceremonies. For example, Norse Mythology says that Thor rode a chariot drawn by a pair of Goats. As another example, people often depict the Greek god Pan as a man with horns and the lower body of a Goat.

Goat - Description, Habitat, Image, Diet, and Interesting Facts (2024)


What is a goats diet and habitat? ›

They usually live in elevations of 3,281 to 16,404 feet (1,000 to 5,000 meters) above sea level. Domestic goats are raised all over the world in almost every type of terrestrial biomes. The main habitat requirements for a domestic goat are grass to eat and a clean, ventilated shelter, according to the ADW.

What is an interesting fact about a goat's habitat? ›

Goats are foragers, NOT grazers. It is actually unnatural to graze a goat on grass and increases the likelihood of them picking up harmful parasites. In their natural habitat, they roam mountaintops and reach up as high as possible to pick out choice bits of forage around them.

What is the description of a goat? ›

Related to the sheep, the goat is lighter of build, has horns that arch backward, a short tail, and straighter hair. Male goats, called bucks or billys, usually have a beard. Females are called does or nannys, and immature goats are called kids. Wild goats include the ibex and markhor.

What is the best habitat for a goat? ›

Goats can't tolerate wet conditions and will always try to look for dry shelter in bad weather. They, therefore, need access to housing 24 hours a day, whatever the season. Your goats' housing should: be warm, dry, draught-free and well-ventilated.

What is a goats habitat like? ›

Wild goats are found from Turkey and the Caucasus in the west to Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in the east. They prefer arid habitats in most of their range and live in montane forests, shrublands, and rocky areas.

What is a goat's diet? ›

Feeds like forages, hays, pellets (alfalfa), barley, peas (screenings, whole, split), corn, oats, distilled grains and meals (soybean, canola, cottonseed meals) are common sources of protein for goat rationing. The protein requirements are higher during growth (kids), milk synthesis (lactation), and mohair growth.

What are the habits of a goat? ›

They are one of the cleanliest animals and are much more selective feeders than cows, sheep, pigs, swine and even dogs. Goats are very intelligent and curious animals. Their inquisitive nature is exemplified in their constant desire to explore and investigate anything unfamiliar which they come across.

How do goats survive in their habitat? ›

Goats have many adaptations (structures that function like tools to help them survive). These include two sets of toes on each foot to help them balance, special eyes to help them see in a wider range to look out for predators, and a 4 chambered stomach to help them digest rough food.

What are 3 facts about goats? ›


How long do goats live? ›

Goats of any age after weaning (around 12 weeks of age) can generally be considered suitable – healthy goats can live for over 12 years.

How many stomachs do goats have? ›

Unlike us, they have special four-compartment stomachs especially designed to digest roughage (food high in fiber) such as grass, hay and silage. The goat's stomach has four chambers: 1) the rumen, 2) the honeycombed reticulum, 3) the omasum, and 4) the abomasum or true stomach.

What do goats sleep on? ›

Goats love sleeping on a raised platform because they enjoy climbing, and it also helps to keep them dry away from urine.

What do goats love the most? ›

If a goat had to pick a favorite food, it would probably be grain! Goat grain can be made up of corn, barley, oats and soybeans – it is very high in calories (lots of energy), but low in fiber, which means that too much can make a goat obese.

What is the habitat of a mountain goat? ›

Mountain goats inhabit rugged, mountainous habitats in western North America. In Alaska, mountain goats occur in coastal regions in southeastern and south-central Alaska. Mountain goats were not described in the scientific literature until 1816 and remain one of the least-studied large mammals in North America.

How long do goats live for? ›

Generally, healthy does are expected to live 11 to 12 years. If a goat is still being bred after age 10, the likelihood of a pregnancy related death is more likely. Does that retire earlier in life can have a longer life expectancy. Wethers live longer than bucks with an 11 to 16-year life span.

Can a goat swim in water? ›

Can goats swim? While they can “doggy” paddle, they won't usually choose swimming on their own accord. Swimming for a length of time requires endurance and muscle training, and most of our goats don't need to swim across water to obtain feed or shelter.


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