Goats are beautiful animals that provide meat and milk. But some of their characters can leave humans perplexed. For instance, goats can climb trees, which other domesticated animals with hooves can’t.
A horse, cow, and donkey cannot climb trees or even steep rocks. If you’re wondering why your goat is climbing trees, this article will uncover why. Here are some of the main reasons:
In Search Of Food
The main reason why goats climb trees is in search of food. This is because goats are active foragers with the ability to cover a broader area in search of scarce plant materials.
Since goats have a small mouth, narrow muzzle, and split upper lips, they can pick tiny leaves, fruits, flowers, and other parts of the plant easily. As a result, goats only choose the most nutritious available feed.
Being natural browsers, goats can choose most of their daily diet if given a chance.
They love feeding on brush & woody perennials and broadleaf plants over herbaceous species, like orchardgrass, bermudagrass, and much more. That’s why you will see goats climbing trees to feed on the leaves, fruits, bark, or even flowers.
Some goats cannot climb trees but stand on their hind legs and stretch up to browse tree leaves or throw their bodies against saplings to bring the top of small trees within their reach. In short, a goat can climb trees or stand on its hind legs to consume the desired forage. Goat climbing trees are common in Morroco, Algeria, and Mexico.
To Evade Predators
One of the challenges of raising goats is to keep them away from predators. You will want to ensure that your goats are protected and safe at all times.
If you live near a forest, there is a high chance that goat predators such as coyotes, wolves, and foxes will be after your goats. And one way the goats protect themselves is by climbing on top of trees where most predators can’t reach them.
So, if you see your goats usually up in the trees but not feeding on them, then you should find out the issue. You may be having coyotes or wolves in your area and don’t know.
Ensure the security is tight so that the predators can’t reach your goats and other domesticated animals.
To Watch Predators
Goats are prey animals; thus, they tend to get to higher places to watch for predators. If you see a herd of goats browsing, you will notice that one is on higher ground or top of a rock or even on a tree surveying the area. This signifies that the goat is the leader of the pack and is watching over the herd.
The goat that watches over other goats is usually the dominant female, or “queen” of the herd. She will also stand up and protect the herd if a predator attacks.
So, if the area the herd is foraging doesn’t have higher ground but trees, the goat may climb on one of the trees to keep watch and alert other goats.
Where Are Goat Climbing Trees Found?
Even though goats that climb trees are not everywhere, they are common in Morocco. If you want to see them, you will have to travel to the country’s Souss Valley, near the southern city of Taroudant. This is the same route from the city of Marrakech to the coastal town of Essaouira.
Argan trees are common in this region and can also be found in the western parts of Algeria. These trees may not be attractive, but they produce a fruit that looks like a shriveled olive and ripens each year around June.
The goats in this area crave the bitter taste and aroma of this fruit. As a result, they end up climbing on these trees to feed on the fruit.
Apart from carving for this fruit, another reason why these goats climb these trees is because of scarce food. With this in mind, these goats are left with no option but to climb on the argan tree in search of fruit. The goats can climb up to the top of 30 feet tall argan trees.
Besides, the indigenous Berber tribe in this area encourages the goats to climb trees as they also benefit from the pulp in the fruit. When the goat swallows the fruit, it passes through its digestive system and ends up in the droppings. Since the goat’s digestive system softens the pulp, people find it easy to crack the nut and remove argan oil.
Aside from Morocco, goat climbing trees can also be found in neighboring Western Algeria and Mexico.
How Do Goats Manage To Climb Trees?
Not all types of goats can climb trees. Some breeds are good at climbing trees, while others are not. For instance, the goat climbing trees in Morocco have adapted to climbing trees because of food scarcity. However, there are some goat breeds that are naturally good climbers. An excellent example of such goats is mountain goats.
Goats are good at climbing trees because of their features. Not only are goats good at balancing than humans, but they have slim bodies that allow them to maneuver easily over trees or even rocks.
And since their hooves are split into two sections, this allows them to have a nice grip on surfaces. Additionally, the bottom of their hooves has rubbery pads that give them more even traction.
Furthermore, goats have two stubby “dewclaws” on the back of their legs that they use for gripping as they climb a tree. With these features, it’s easy to see why many goats climb trees with a lot of ease.
Goats climb trees because they want to feed, are keeping watch, or evading their predators. It’s important that you provide your goat with enough food and keep it secure from its predators.
Also, you should give it the right diet so that it does not have to feed on your tree leaves, bark, or fruits.