Have you ever wondered, “why do goats climb up mountains and cliffs – and how does this translate to domestic goats? Indeed, in many cases, it’s easy to overlook just how many of our goats’ natural instincts persist to this day.
However, even domesticated goats – one of the longest-domesticated animals in human history – still retain this amazing ability to climb, and this can often mean that keeping goats where they are supposed to be is a challenge! Still, we’re on hand today to help you find out a little more about why wild goats climb, how this relates to your domesticated goats, and how you can help reduce the chances of your goats climbing out from their pens.
Why Do Goats Climb Up Mountains and Cliffs?
In many cases, it’s easy to feel a little lost when looking at those often heart-stopping pictures of wild feral goats balanced precariously on the edge of a seemingly flat surface. The ability of these amazing wild goats to balance on even the most challenging terrain can be mesmerizing. However, it also raises a key question. Why do wild goats climb mountains and up cliffs, anyway?
A lot of a wild animal’s natural behaviors relate to evolution and the natural arms race to survive. However, let’s face it – the thought of living on a rocky cliff doesn’t seem like an overly great option. After all, the thought of a young kid, in particular, trying to scale those terrains can be terrifying – how on earth could this daredevil lifestyle benefit wild, feral goats?
The Different Reasons Why Goats Climb in the Wild
Well, the reason is potentially surprisingly simple. Most likely, the reason why goats climb mountains and up cliffs is to escape from predators. The terrains in which goats live are often hard for other species to navigate. This means there is reduced competition for food – not that it’s overly abundant or nutritious.
But, critically, this also means that there are far fewer predators. Plus, the ability to rapidly scale ever sheer cliff faces is something that very few other animals can do; as such, this offers a unique opportunity for goats to rapidly escape from others.
How Does a Goat’s Environment Influence its Propensity to Climb?
Generally speaking, goats are much more likely to climb if something on the other side of the fence is appealing to them and if the fencing is weak enough to enable this. However, while all goats go back to feral ancestors whose ability for parkour and scaling mountains is phenomenal, many domesticated goats aren’t quite this nimble (luckily for us).
Which Goats are Most Likely to Climb in a Domesticated Environment?
Generally speaking, the goats that are most likely to climb in a domesticated environment are the ones that are looking to get out and – critically – that are a more maneuverable build. Some goats, such as Boers, may be less likely to climb due to their stocky bulk. Meanwhile, a dairy goat in full lactation may struggle to climb due to the weight of her udder.
However, young kids tend to be amazingly nimble, which can lead them into all sorts of trouble. You’d be amazed how a goat can learn to use its dew claws as hooks to help them scramble over fencing. Plus, their amazing ability to jump means that they can easily reach heights you might think to be maddening.
What are some of the Dangers That Come With Goats Climbing?
Of course, there are numerous dangers with goats climbing. The most obvious is the risk of falling from a height; this could easily do extreme damage. Plus, broken bones often do not heal easily in livestock, so even if your goat survives the fall, it may need to be put to sleep – or otherwise, be put on months of rehabilitation and therapy to come right again.
It’s also worth considering that goats can absolutely get stuck in the fencing while trying to climb, especially if they use their dew claws. One small slip can result in the goat getting stuck; in the best-case scenario, this might just cause a little swelling. However, in worse cases, it could result in broken necks or the other goats in the herd ganging up on the stuck goat until it can be rescued.
It’s not a nice outlook. So, try not to let your goats climb; ensure all fencing is strong enough to be climb-proof, and if possible, you should also try to keep the goats’ pen well stocked with plenty of food and things to do to keep them busy. But, of course, goats will be goats – so always keep a close eye on them!
There’s nothing more frustrating as a goat keeper than finding that one of your beloved goats has gotten out. However, in many cases, the reason behind this is genetics. After all,
Hopefully, today’s guide will have helped you find out a little more about why do goats climb mountains and up cliffs? Plus, we’ve also looked at how this can relate to your own goats – and how you can discourage this sort of behavior. After all, climbing goats can put themselves at great risk, so it’s vital not to let this sort of behavior continue for their sake!