The Incredible Tree-Climbing Goats of Morocco

(Images via: Nick Outram and Moment)

Before you jump to conclusions: no, these were not created by a bored geek in Photoshop. Amazingly, these uncanny animals are actually real: they climb the Argan trees of Morocco in search of food, which is otherwise sparse in the region. Over time they have become not only able to climb trees but downright adept at the art – the traipse across trees with a sure-footedness that is hard to imagine from a hoofed animal.

(image via Lottelies)

The droppings of the goats contain the kernels of the seeds they consume which are, strangely enough, used by locals to press and grind into oil. Even more disturbingly: this oil has a number of uses including culinary (yes, people eat it) and cosmetic (yes, they also smear it on themselves). You might want to skip over the versions of these products sold by local farmers for the somewhat cleaner mass-produced varieties. For a quarter-liter bottle of this goat-digested kernel-oil you can expect to pay from 15 to 50 dollars.

Known as skilled navigators of treacherous mountain conditions, maybe it isn’t such a surprise after all to find goats making their way up the steep and narrow trunks and branches of only slightly more dangerous trees. Unfortunately, the Argan tree is slowly being over-harvested so you may have to hurry to see the real thing. Still not sure you believe the images of goats climbing trees up to heights of 30 feet? There is nothing quite like a video to convince even the most cynical skeptics:

Note that instead of the careful climbing one might expect these brave goats simply hop from one cluster of branches to another in search of food. In the middle of the video you can even see a younger goat run down the almost vertical slope of the tree before hopping lightly onto the ground below – followed shortly after by another that simply jumps from a higher set of branches to land on its feet.

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