Scientific Name: Capra hircus
Around the world, more people get their milk from goats than from cows.
Goats have lived with people longer than any other animal except for dogs! Goats were domesticated by humans more than 9,000 years ago in Asia.
STATUS: Not endangered.
HABITAT: Alpine goats were originally bred in the Alpine region of Switzerland. They prefer very large pastures and cooler climates. Most domesticated Alpine goats are housed in barns or some kind of shelter when not in the fields.
DIET: These goats are “browsers,” which means they consistently eat almost every plant that is near to them. They usually eat twigs from bushes and can peel the bark off trees. Alpines are herbivores that prefer browse to pasture and also eat mosses and lichens. They also have a fondness for land that is part woodland and part pasture.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Their average height is 34 to 40 inches or more at the withers, which is the highest point on the back, on the ridge between their shoulder blades. The average weight for these goats is 150 to 200 pounds. The length of their bodies can be up to 6 feet. They also have skin appendages that hang at the neck that are called “bells.” Their coloring is usually fawn-colored, but they can be any color except solid white or light brown with white markings. The male bucks often have black beards and usually do not have horns. The doe’s udders have only two nipples. They are extremely talented climbers. The hair that grows between their hooves enables them to have traction on smooth surfaces.
The Better to See You With!
All goats have horizontal, rectangular pupils. It is believed that this gives the goat excellent night vision. They need this night vision not only to look out for predators, but also so they can continue eating even when very little to no light is available.