Capra aegagrus hircus
Presenting one of everyone’s favourite animals at Chew Valley. This park started off with a couple of pygmy goats and has since grown to welcome all the new species. Tilly, Thelma, Rob, Diana and the rest of the big herd love being scratched, fed, and given new things to jump and play all over! All of the goats have names, so see if you can remember them all!
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Pygmy goats developed from the Cameroon Dwarf goat and so originate from West Africa, namely Cameroon. Although, they also range throughout grasslands and semi-deserts in the continent.
Pygmy goats are one of the smallest breeds of goats. Males can weigh up to 39kg whereas females 34kg. They are also ruminants, which means they have four compartments to their stomachs. The rumen, the first and largest stomach compartment, is responsible for the wide and pregnant-looking bodies the goats have.
Pygmy goats are browsers, which means they are herbivores but generally eat leaves and shrubs. But they will also graze on grass and other low vegetation.
Pygmy goats are lively, friendly characters. They live in herds as they are very sociable and love companionship. Within these herds, they engage in head butting to compete for their place in the hierarchy. They also love climbing, this is because it allows them to not only eat the higher leaves and shrubs, but also so they can spot predators.
Gestation period of approximately 150 days, giving birth to up to 4 kids but usually just 1 or 2.
They have a reputation of eating anything. But in fact, this myth originates from them tasting things to see if they are edible or not. As ruminants, goats have four-chambered stomachs that allow them to chew their food quickly and then store it for further chewing and digestion later. This gives them the ability to eat quickly in an area where they may have to watch for predators!