We’ve come across goats, whether domestic or wild, but these familiar friends have hidden depths…
- Some Goats Faint When They’re Scared – When fainting goats feel threatened, they will collapse to the ground with stiffened legs. This amusing reaction is caused by myotonia congenita, a hereditary condition also found in humans and other mammals, which causes the chemical message to get ready for danger to fire over and over again, meaning their body tenses up for too long. Some goats are bred to have myotonia congenita, as the fainting makes them easier to control.
- Goats Gave Us Coffee – Goats could be responsible for discovering the effects of one of humanity’s favourite substances – coffee. The legend of Kaldi, a goat herder in ancient Ethiopia, tells that his herd of goats would get so excited after eating the beans from the coffee plants growing throughout the Ethiopian highlands that they couldn’t sleep. Kaldi took the beans to the local monastery, where an abbot made a drink with them, creating what we now know as coffee.
- Mountain goats cling to the sides of cliffs with their cloven hooves, made of keratin. They also have a special traction pad extending beyond the hoof for extra grip.
- Goats are social animals and live in herds of around 20. For most of the year, one female is dominant in the herd, until mating season, when a male takes over.
- According to reports from National Geographic, mountain goats have been known to leap up to 3.5 metres (12 feet) in the air.