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Last updated date: 16th Apr 2024
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Goat is an animal, belonging to family Bovidae the scientific name of it being Capra aegagrus hircus which is a domesticated subspecies of the wild Capra aegagrus. 45% of Goats population are mainly found in Asia the highest number being in China, followed by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They are a breed of ruminants which falls in the category of the mammals and suborder Ruminantia that also includes other cattle, sheep, antelope, deer, giraffe.

Goat Information

To understand goat animal, it is crucial to understand everything in detail. Let’s begin by understanding goat starting from its scientific name, goat Characteristics, goat habitat, classification of goat, goat anatomy, and health that includes the goat body parts, and goat life cycle.

What is Goat?

Goat is a domesticated ruminant mammal that is a warm-blooded vertebrate distinguishable by the presence of hair or fur of which the females secrete milk for the nourishment of their young ones. Goats like many other ruminants are also raised like cattle. Cattle raised animals are farm animals which usually are bred to serve the purpose of human needs for milk, meat, fur and hides. Hides are nothing but goatskins that will later be made into leather products for clothes, belt and shoes. And goat milk is also converted into cheese called goat cheese which is enjoyed as a delicacy by many in many parts of the world. 

Goat herding is one of the most ancient traditions people practised to survive and make a living as well. When the first developments of the farming appeared, the farmers began herding wild goats of which their ancestor was wild bezoar ibex of the Zagros Mountains based on the archaeological evidence confirming the most recent genetic study. The farmers then herd the goats for milk, meat and dung as fuel and bone were used for clothing, and tools building. 

What is the Scientific Name of Goat?

The scientific name of any species is a formal way of naming in the binomial nomenclature. Wherein they have names, the 1st name being the genus that identifies the family to which it belongs and the 2nd part is species that identifies the specificity within that family. They also have a subspecies for some category. 

The scientific name of a goat is Capra aegagrus hircus which is a domesticated identification subspecies of the wild Capra aegagrus. The genus is Capra and aegagrus is the species, and hircus name is to identify the domestic goats or those that are raised like cattle.

According to the binomial nomenclature, the scientific name of the goat is Capra aegagrus hircus. Hircus is the domesticated identification subspecies of the wild Capra family. The genus name is Capra, and the species name is aegagrus. Hircus subspecies identifies the domesticated goat.

Anatomy of Goat

The anatomy of Goat refers to the Goat Body Parts and their health. 

The Goat Life cycle is quite an interesting one, the kid that is the juvenile goat starts walking within minutes after their birth, after a period of 3-4 months they no longer rely on their birth giver for the food and feed themselves with masses of grass and after 30 months they are biologically ready to carry children, the gestation period is up to 150 days. The wild goat lifespan is similar to that of a dog that is 9-12 years while a domesticated one's life expectancy is 15-18 years. 

In this section, we will learn about the body parts and the general health of a goat.

The gestation period of a female goat is 15/ days. The young ones of a goat are called “kids”. The kids are able to walk and run just minutes after their birth. They rely on their mothers for only a few months, following which they are able to graze and feed on grass and leaves. 

Goats have a life expectancy of 9-12 years much like that of dogs. Domesticated goats live longer up to 15-18 years. Goats can have a range in terms of weight. Lighter goats can weigh around 20-27 kg and heavier ones can weigh over 140 kg. 

Goats have two horns that are arched back. There have been cases where goats with up to eight horns have been born due to some genetic disorder. Such goats are called polycerate goats.

Goats have four chambers in their stomachs. When they eat grass, they don't digest it right away, they store it in a chamber called “rumen”. Later at night, they can bring back the stored grass to their mouths for chewing it properly. This is called chewing the cud, a phenomenon that is observed in cows as well. This is mainly due to the reason that grass has a high content of cellulose which is not easy to digest. Therefore, it is not digested at first but stored and then chewed later. The chewed matter goes to the other chambers of the stomach called reticulum, omasum, and abomasum with the help of essential microbes present in their stomachs.

Names Based on Anatomy

Goats also have varied names depending on their anatomy, that is the male ones are called bucks or billies and the castrated male goats are called wethers and the females are called does or nannies, whereas the young ones regardless of the gender are called kids.

Females have udder that is an organ formed from the sum of 2 teats or mammary glands in these ruminants whereas others have combinations of 4-8 teats.

Build and Weight

Unlike other ruminants, goats are lighter in build weighing differently with respect to the specific breed, strains and bloodline. The goats on the higher side of the scale can be over 140 kg, and on the lower end of the scale, they can weigh up to 20-27 kg. 

Goat Horns

Goats naturally have horns 2 horns that are arched back. In genetically rare cases goats tend to inherit more than 2 horns and such ones are called polycerate goats and the number of horns possessed can be as high as 8. There has not been any case of a successfully bred polled goat that is a goat with no horn.

Digestive Tract & Stomach

The upper incisors of goats are mostly reduced and sometimes even absent. And like most ruminants have stomachs with 4 chambers and they tend to eat quickly, by storing grass in the first chamber, the rumen, where it softens. They later regurgitate, and that matter is called cud. The chewed cud contains cellulose which is difficult to digest in the 1st chamber so it goes directly to the other chambers of the stomach namely reticulum, omasum, and abomasum, for further digestion with the aid of other essential microorganisms that reside in the stomach.

Eyes and Hair

they have horizontal pupils and are usually pale that distinguish them from other ruminants who have darker ones. The goat possesses straight hair, and both the sexes have beards.

Classification of Goat, Habitat, and its Characteristics

Goats have horizontal pupils and beards, their hair is mostly darker in shade. There are different kinds of goat breeds which can be classified as:

  • Boer Goat

Originally bred in the 1900s in South Africa, these goats have a lighter shade of fur, are raised and live in high elevation areas. They are bred for their meat.

  • Angora Goat

These breeds of goat have smaller bodies and live in semi-arid regions like New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Europe, and North America. They are bred for their fur which is used for making wool.

  • Cashmere Goat

These goats are small in size and have small horns, and are found in colder regions like Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and some regions in Kashmir, from which it derived its name. These goats are also bred for a special kind of wool called Cashmere wool and are also good for milk production and their meat.

  • Oberhasli Goat

These goats are found in the Switzerland and Alpine regions and are characterized by Chamoisee colour of skin with black forehead, belly and lower limb. They are bred for milk and wool.

  • LaMancha Goat

Found in America and bred for milk, these goats have distinct Gopher ears.

  • Saanen Goat

White-skinned, hornless found throughout Europe, these goats are also bred for milk and wool.

  • Nubian Goat

Found in hot regions, these are domesticated in Britain and are used for dairy and meat.

  • Toggenburg Goat

These goats are found in valleys and are a great resource of milk.

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Goat Breeds

The Origins

Goat Characteristics

Goat Habitat

The uses

Boer Goat

This breed of goat was originally developed by selective breeding in the 1900s in South Africa.  

They have white bodies with noticeable brown heads and possess long pendulous ears and sometimes may have up to 8 teats.

They are raised in terrestrial biomes and live in high elevations above the sea level.

They are usually bred for meat.

Angora Goat

Found in Turkey, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and North America

They have a small body and the colour of fleece changes with age.  

They thrive in semi-arid regions which have dry hot summers and cold winters.

They were bred for the thick fibre they produce which is used as wool.

Cashmere Goat 

Found in Tibet, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal and Ladakh and other Kashmir regions

They are small built with small horns and large ears.

They thrive in packs in colder regions.

Primarily used for Cashmere wool production and are also suitable for meat and milk production.

LaMancha Goat

Also called American LaMancha and are found in the USA.

They have distinctive Gopher Ears wherein it is turned up in the end and is up to 1 inch. 

Truly bred for the purpose of milk production and thrive in herds and domesticated environments.

Most importantly used for extracting milk.

Oberhasli Goat

Found in Switzerland and is also called Swiss Alpine or Modern American Breed of Dairy Goat. 

Black forehead, belly and lower limb. The colouring of skin is Chamoisee. 

They thrive in mountain regions.

Used for wool and milk.

Saanen Goat

Found in the Saanen Valley of Switzerland and spread throughout Europe.

Maybe horned or hornless. They are large and white-skinned with small pigmentation. 

Thrive in mountains and valleys.

Used primarily for milk and white wool.

Nubian Goat

It is a British bred domesticated goat and also called Anglo- Nubian Goat and often bred with imported ones from India, the Middle East and North Africa.

Traditionally prick-eared but bred with large lop-eared imported goats.

Live in a very hot climate and have a longer breeding season.

Used for the dual purpose of meat and dairy. 

Toggenburg Goat

It is a Swiss breed of dairy goat. Also found in the US and UK.

Medium-sized with light brown skin. Their appearance is sturdy, vigorous and alert. 

Thrive in valleys.

A consistent milk producer.

Goat Facts

The following are some fun Goat facts to remember that will help you learn more about this species.

  1. Goats are one of the first wilds who were tamed by humans for herding and has been an ancient tradition since.

  2. The most consumed meat per capita in the world is goat meat.

  3. The goats chew in a rotary motion because their upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw.

  4. Goats thrive in herds and are not loners, they tend to be depressed when left alone.

  5. The juveniles or baby goats which are called kids start walking within minutes after birth.

  6. They use their lips to grab their food to bring to their mouth. 

  7. Goats have very sensitive lips, and contrary to popular belief they are very picky eaters.

  8. There are mainly 2 types of Goats,  mountain goats and domesticated goats, and according to the Smithsonian Institution, there are 200 breeds of domestic goats.

  9. Mountain goats are the wild ones who are also great climbers and being mountain animals they can easily climb high to the dams or the trees.

  10. Goats are smart and curious animals who tend to investigate anything that catches their attention. They are constantly exploring, especially the wild or mountain goats.

Goat is a common domesticated animal that falls under the category of mammals. Goats are very commonly found in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. They belong to the family of Bovidae and suborder Ruminantia which include other domestic cattle like sheep, and other animals like antelope, giraffe, etc. Goat is a warm-blooded vertebrate that has fur on its body and the females secrete milk. Goats are raised like cattle for different purposes. Meat, hide skin, milk and fur are collected from goats that are used in different ways. Meat is directly used for consumption in Asia, hide skin is used in the tannery, milk from goats not only provides nourishment to their young ones but also for processing it into cheese. Goat herding is an ancient practice that helped people survive and make a living out of it as well.

FAQs on Goat

1. What is the scientific name of goat?

The scientific name of goat according to the binomial nomenclature is Carpa aegagrus hircus where Carpa is the genus name, aegagrus is the species name and hircus denotes the domestication of goats.

2. What are the different types of goats?

There are basically two different types of goats: wild or mountain goats, and domesticated goats. Although there are over 200 breeds of goats found in different regions of the world.

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3. What are goats bred for?

Different breeds of goats are bred for one or more uses which are mainly for dairy, meat, skin, and wool.

4. What are the young ones of goats called?

Young goats are called kids regardless of their gender. 

5. Can goats be trained?

The goats can actually remember the names which you call them by. And they often tend to respond even when in a herd. The goats are intelligent creatures, so when you try to talk to them or treat them by feeding and call them by a name, they will remember it. Goats were the first animals who were domesticated by man. So, yes, they can be trained and made to follow instructions according to their herder.

6. Do goats have good eyesight?

Goats, unlike other farm animals, have horizontal pupils in a pale background which makes them look terrifying but also gives them exceptional a complete 320-degree panoramic view whereas we humans only have 120-degree vision. This vision enables them to protect themselves from the predator. They can also distinguish between a variety of colours like yellow, blue, orange, violet, green and red.

7. Can goats run?

In reality, the wild goats are great runners and climbers. And some breeds like the Toggenburg Goat are very sturdy and vigorous. Goats have been domesticated for many centuries now, so the domesticated goats are perhaps not very vigorous but they sure can climb, jump, crawl and run over anything. And when left in their natural habitat, they live vicariously by running and jumping around. So, before getting goats do ensure to have a good fence.

8. Can we keep goats as a pet?

Goats are not loaners and since they are herd animals they must always have a companion else they are not their usual self when left alone. They tend to get depressed. So whenever one thinks of bringing a goat it is in pairs or groups and they need a lot of space to roam around and feel at home like they do in their natural habitat. Goats nowadays are also usually bought for raising as cattle by farmers.