Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fainting Goat

I feel like I've been covering a lot of domesticated animal breeds lately, but oh well, there are just so many interesting ones out there!

Fainting Goats
The Fainting Goat is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting of them all. This small breed of goat is characterized by a congenital genetic condition called myotonia congenita. When they get scared or startled their muscles completely tense up for as long as 20 seconds, which often causes them to fall over. Young goats are more prone to falling, while older individuals typically figure out ways to keep themselves upright. For a more detailed and scientific explanation on myotonia congenita and Fainting Goats, read this excellent article.

So where did Fainting Goats come from, and what is their purpose? The first goats with symptoms of M.C. were brought to Tennessee from Nova Scotia in the 1880s, and the herd grew from there. They ended up becoming so successful because of their small size, high reproductive rate, less escape-prone temperament, and use as a meat animal. Fainting Goats continue to grow in popularity, both for their meat purposes, and as novelty pets.

Fainting Goats are typically small, but are a highly variable breed. They can come in almost any color, can have both short and long hair, and can range in size between 60 and 160lbs!

Status : Domesticated
Location : Originated in North America
Size : Height up to 25in (64cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Bovidae -- Genus : Capra -- Species : C. aegagrus -- Subspecies : C. a. hircus


  1. Does the repeated fainting cause neurological or muscle damage over time?

  2. We had these in NC growing up. Tempted many a bored teenager.

  3. The best I can tell, the condition does not affect their nerves or brain over time. It is a painless condition (unless they fall down) and the only long-term side affect is a potential increase in muscle mass. (Which is why they are kept for meat purposes)


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