Geographical Range Worldwide
Habitat Various habitats, associated with human settlements
Scientific Name Capra hircus hircus
Conservation Status Not listed by IUCN

Scientists think wild goats were first domesticated in southwestern Asia 8,000 to 9,000 years ago. Domestic goats are now kept by people all over the world for production of milk, meat and wool. They are social animals and usually live in herds for safety.

Goats are very nimble. They are able to survive and fend for themselves in places that other domestic animals cannot reach. Among the reasons is their ability to climb and to cross rough terrain. They can do this because the pads of their toes are soft and moveable, enabling them to move swiftly and sure-footedly over rocky ground. Like cows, goats are ruminants and chew their cud.

Domestic goats are so adaptable that they’re causing trouble in numerous wild habitats. In the Mediterranean region and Middle East, for example, goats have been highly destructive to natural vegetation. They’ve contributed to erosion, to the spread of deserts, and to the disappearance of native wildlife.