Goats were first domesticated by humans around 9000 years ago, and they had since been an integral part of the life of a nomadic herder. These gentle animals quietly followed their master wherever he/she went.
Be it mountains or plains; goats could always keep up with their master because of their ability to traverse various terrains with ease. You might already know that goats are excellent climbers, but can they swim?
Yeah, goats can swim. In their natural habitats, goats can be seen swimming across islands in search of grazing lands. But this isn’t quite the case with domesticated goats or pet goats. The goats that have been in captivity since their birth may not be competent swimmers as their siblings in the wild. It is interesting to note that some of these domesticated or pet goats are so afraid of water that they panic when water is sprinkled on them.
This disparity in swimming behavior between goats in the wild and those in captivity can be attributed to their survival instincts. For instance, goats that had been in captivity didn’t have to swim in search of better breeding grounds or grazing lands.
They were provided with everything needed for their survival by the Shepard. By being taken care of, goats have forgotten that they can swim, and most of them are afraid of stepping into the water.
Even if they were to swim, the years of domestication might have made their muscles weak, making it difficult for them to swim compared to the ones in the wild.
In this article, we will have an in-depth look into the swimming behavior of goats in the wild & those in captivity and other interesting things about them.
Let’s get going.
Are goats natural swimmers?
Yeah, goats are excellent swimmers by birth. The ability of goats to swim by birth can be traced back to their ancestors, who lived in the wild.
For them, swimming was an important skill that was needed to survive in the harsh geographical conditions they lived in. These goats had to swim for foraging and migration.
Swimming being a skill needed to survive, somewhere down the evolutional lane, it became a part of their genome. For most of these mammals, swimming is as effortless as walking. But the domestic goats do not seem to realize that they can swim!
Can all goats swim?
Yes, all goats can swim. But that being said, it is essential to note that not all of them prefer swimming. Let us take the example of a goat living in their natural habitat.
For these goats, most of them would have to cross a river or stream at some point in time. It may be for better breeding grounds or grazing lands. Since getting into water becomes a matter of their survival, they wouldn’t hesitate.
This isn’t the case with the domesticated goats. Not every domesticated goat has to swim except for the pack goats who might have to cross rivers or stream at some point in time.
Swimming is indeed a physically daunting and challenging task. You can’t swim long distances just because you know swimming. You would need a good level of physical fitness and powerful muscles. This applies to goats too.
As far as the wild goats are concerned, they would have a higher level of fitness than their domesticated cousins and swim well.
This isn’t the case with domesticated goats. Though they can swim, you can’t expect them to swim long distances.
When compared to their wild siblings, the domesticated ones don’t have the physical fitness to endure long swims. But yeah, they could survive an accidental fall into the water if they don’t panic.
Why are domestic goats afraid of water?
If you own a goat, you might have observed that they get uncomfortable when you sprinkle water on them. Doesn’t this behavior seem to be quite odd for an animal that can swim from its birth?
Well, it is important to note that goats are not afraid of water. It’s just that they have a natural aversion toward the water. But either way, they dislike water as a pet cat does! Goats dislike getting wet by that extreme that they would rush to the nearest shelter before the first drop of rainfalls. This behavior has indeed been a matter of surprise for many!
The reason for this bizarre behavior can be traced back to their forefathers who lived in the wild. These goats living in the wild were known for their ability to climb steep mountains with ease. It is their hooves that enable them to climb.
They understood that climbing icy mountains wasn’t going to be easy if their hooves were wet. Another school of thought regarding the goats’ aversion to water is that by avoiding wet spots, they are saving themselves from parasites that can potentially cause infections in their hooves.
Either way, a goat’s aversion towards water can be changed over time.
What is the best way to make a goat swim?
Not just goats, when it comes to any pet animal, the first thing you need to do is to gain their trust, which isn’t an easy thing to achieve. To make a goat swim, you need to get them into the water, which can only be done if you have their trust. Training a goat to swim is pretty easy if done correctly.
The first step towards training your goat to swim is to help them overcome the fear of water. Not all goats are equally afraid of water.
While some are extremely scared of water, others may not be. It means that they are all going to need different training methods.
The key to earning their trust is patience!
The best way to train a goat to overcome its fear of water is to introduce them to water at a very young age. Young goats are inquisitive that they won’t have much of a concern to get into the water.
Once they get in and understand that they can swim, they will start loving it. And then things start getting more comfortable.
Don’t expect your goat to get into the water fast because goats have this innate affinity to keep themselves dry.
They will find many ingenious ways to stay away from water. This is where you might have to give them a little push while keeping them comfortable.
Always keep in mind that you need to ensure the safety of the goats. When you introduce a baby goat to water, make sure that you have a rope tied around them so that you can pull them out of the water in case of emergencies. Also, don’t expect your goat to swim in the first go.
As said earlier, patience is the key!
What is the safest way to teach pack goats to swim?
It is essential to train the pack goats to overcome its fear of water. If these goats aren’t properly trained, they will try and hop from rock to rock or jump all the way across through rocks.
This can turn out to be dangerous as there is every chance of them slipping. The safest way for a goat to cross a river is to take time to walk across and step out calm and steady.
For this to happen, your goats should first overcome their fear of water. As said in the previous section, baby goats are the easiest to train because of their curiosity.
The first step is to find a spot that isn’t deep. The ideal depth should be around 7 inches. You should get into the water and make the baby goat follow you. By doing this, you are training the goat to follow the lead and not to venture out looking for alternate ways.
Once the goat starts following you and you reach deep enough, comfort the goat by petting them. This will help them freak out in the water and gradually become comfortable being in the water over time.
Can a goat swim in a pool?
If you have a pet goat, it is obvious that you might want them to join swimming with you. Yeah, a goat can swim in a pool, but the question is whether they want to.
If your goat is comfortable swimming, don’t hesitate to jump in with them. But if they aren’t, you shouldn’t push them; instead, you should train them to overcome their fear of water.
It is important to keep in mind that domesticated and pet goats aren’t as physically fit as the ones in the wild. It means that they won’t have the stamina to swim long. So make sure that you don’t let your goat venture out into the pool all by themselves.