When it comes to barnyard animals, goats might be the weirdest. Unlike sheep, which are content to stay with their herd, goats are naturally curious and independent, often getting into mischief as a result.
In a recent interview with National Geographic, University of Maryland sheep and goat expert Susan Schoenian explained that of all the livestock she’s worked with, goats exhibit the oddest behavior. Even getting them to stay in a pen proves surprisingly challenging.
“We frequently tell people [that] if you want goats in a fence, you need a moat,” she says. “They're always looking for a way out.”
If and when goats escape their confines, they can pop up in places that humans would find challenging to reach—behaviors we’ve repeatedly seen on video in the last few months.
Scroll down to see our favorite videos that show goats’ quirkiest, smartest, and downright weirdest behaviors.
Hanging from a Wire
In March 2016, a goat in Greece was found dangling 20 feet in the air from a power line by its horns, with seemingly no jumping-off points in sight. Local officials are still unsure of how it landed in the power line—and had to use a long ladder and rope to pull the goat to the ground. After being rescued, the goat ran off as if nothing had happened.
Breaking into an Office
On July 16, security cameras in Colorado, caught a bizarre act of vandalism: windows broken by goats that had broken free from their farm. The footage shows a goat walking up to a glass door, butting its head against the pane, and then running away after the glass shatters. Undeterred, it then returns to the scene and breaks the other door.
Butting is a natural behavior goats use to test their surroundings. Some online viewers of the clip speculated it was attacking its reflection, but because their eyesight is strongest at the periphery, not the center of their field of view, it’s possible the goat was just having fun.
Growing on Trees
Why do goats in Morocco cluster onto argan trees? The answer: the trees’ small, shriveled-looking fruit, which ripens each June. The goats crave the fruits bitter taste and aroma—and climb 30 feet to reach them. Goats aren’t the only ones to benefit: After eating the nut inside the fruit, goats excrete the remains, which contain a highly profitable oil used commonly in cosmetics. As more and more Moroccan farmers cash in on argan oil, they buy more goats to consume the fruit nuts, leaving the trees filled with the animals. It’s not unusual to see goats grazing in trees for up to six hours at a time.
Fainting in Fright
One of the most bizarre behaviors displayed by goats is their sudden impulse to faint. Myotonic goats, a common domestic goat in the U.S., have a genetic condition called myotonia congenital that causes their muscles to stiffen when they’re frightened. The condition results in sudden, stiff-legged drops to the ground. The effect lasts only a few minutes before the goats stand back up and return to normal.
Bonus Goat: Steep Mountainsides
Found scaling precipitous mountain tops, mountain goats are some of the world’s best rock climbers. The animals, however, are not actually goats: They belong to the antelope family and likely got their name because of their goat-like appearance. In Utah, hunters introduced mountain goat populations in the 1960s. Now, the Division of Wildlife Resources finds that to control the state’s goat populations, they must move goat from one region to another. The best tools for the job? Helicopters.