See more Mammals

Pygmy Goat

Capra hircus

  1. Not Evaluated
  2. Data Deficient
  3. Least Concern
  4. Near Threatened
  5. Vulnerable
  6. Endangered
  7. Critically Endangered
  8. Extinct in the Wild
  9. Extinct

About Us

Come and visit our ‘trip of goats’ in Farmyard Friends; these intelligent animals have a large area for grazing and giant 'Billymanjaro' rocks for climbing. Woburn Safari Park’s goats are full of curiosity and character; they certainly own their enclosure and don’t mind resting in the middle of visitor pathways. 

Distribution
Africa
Habitat
Grasslands and semi desert.
Height
50-63 cm long and 41-58 cm tall at the shoulder.
Weight
22-27 kg
Gestation Period
150 days
Lifespan
10 -15 years
Threats
Not currently threatened.

Social structure

African Pygmy Goats are diurnal which means they are more active during the day, spending much of their time grazing. They are social animals and prefer to be in the company of other goats. Herd sizes in the wild tend to be 5 to 20 members, but can be as high as 100. The herds can contain only males, only females and young, or a mix of both. There is a hierarchy structure in the herds, with the males competing for their place in the hierarchy by engaging in head butting. 

Diet

Goats are browsing herbivores. They eat grass, leaves, twigs, vines, and shrubs and various other plants. In captivity they are fed on a diet of hay, grass and leafy branches (browse) and are also provided with a mineral salt block. They will lick the mineral salt block when they are in need of extra minerals.

Physical features

There are many different varieties of colour and sizes of African Pygmy Goat. They have cloven hooves, a long beard on its chin, a short and upward-turned tail, and horns that grow upward from the head. The hair is generally straight; however, some breeds have a wool undercoat during the winter. Coat colour varies, and can be black, white, red, and brown. Colour patterns include solid colour, spotted, striped, blended shades and facial stripes. Ears may be erect or drooping, small or large. 

Breeding behaviour

Many goat breeds are seasonal breeders, being influenced by the length of daylight. However, in the tropics certain breeds reproduce all year long. Females become reproductively mature around a year old, whereas males reach maturity around 5 months of age. It’s the highest ranking male that will mate with the females, males fight by butting heads until one competitor surrenders. A goat's length of pregnancy is approximately 150 days. Females give birth to one or two kids or occasionally triplets, the young are born developed and able to walk and follow the mother just hours after birth. About 10 months after birth the young are weaned from their mother’s milk and graze independently. Maturity and gestation can vary between breeds. 

Threats and conservation

The domestic goat is non-native throughout most of their current range; their grazing can be detrimental to natural ecosystems. Goat overgrazing can cause erosion, spread of deserts, and the disappearance of natural wildlife. However, in some managed grasslands, goats have been used to prevent the spread of introduced weeds.

The number of domestic goats globally is abundant and they are not currently threatened with extinction. Nowadays, the domestic goat is widely known and bred in captivity in all parts of the world. Domestic goats provide a vital service to many people; they are regularly farmed for milk, wool, cheese, meat, and leather. They have gained popularity as pets and some are even shown in competitions due to their good-natured personalities and friendliness.

Fun facts

All goats and sheep are primarily grazers and ruminants—cud chewers that is. A four-chambered stomach contains fermenting bacteria and protozoans that help break down the tough grasses and other plants these animals eat. While at rest, the animals bring food back up from the first stomach chamber and chew it, grinding it with their cheek teeth. Then they swallow their food a second time for more thorough digestion.

A male goat is called a ram or billy, and a female is called a doe or nanny. Young goats are known as kids until they are old enough to reproduce.