Is This Goat Guilty of Breaking and Entering?

Fagjun | Published 2017-07-19 18:04


Security footage shows a goat breaking and entering a manufacturing company's office in Louisville, Colorado.


Well, maybe not necessarily the entering part. The footage shows a large black and white goat repeatedly ramming the office's doors with its horns, causing the glass to shatter. The goat ran away when the glass pane on one door shattered, but later came back to do the same to the glass on the other door.


When the manager came to the office, he was understandably alarmed that there had been a break-in. He called the police, as one should in this scenario, to report the incident. However, he soon realized that nothing was actually missing from the office. He then reviewed the security camera footage and discovered that the office had been in fact the victim—of a goat, that is.


We can safely assume that the goat had no use for anything inside the office. What, therefore, prompted it to attack the doors with its horns?


Breaking and Entering: Caught Red-Horned

Was the goat attacking its own reflection?


When the company uploaded the security footage to YouTube, a lot of people put in their two cents. There were those who thought that the goat may have seen its reflection on the glass and thought that it was a different goat. Maybe the goat got it in its head to attack its reflection. Since the goat was also with a group of other goats, another user commented that it must have been peer pressure that drove the goat to attack.


But what really happened?


Susan Schoenian, a sheep and goat specialist at the University of Maryland, says that the goat was probably just having a bit of fun. Officials say that the goat gang must have been escapees from a nearby farm and are making the most of their new-found freedom. Goats, Schoenian says, are naturally curious and predisposed to exploring. Schoenian also adds that goats use their horns to explore and experience their surroundings in their own way. Anything they find interesting, they'll probably headbutt.


Thus, curiosity and a sense of adventure, combined with a mean set of horns, can be a recipe for goatly shenanigans. However, in this case at least, it's all fun and games—until someone calls it breaking and entering, of course.


Just a Bit of Fun

Goats have defined social hierarchies. [Photo by Dana Tezarr/The Image Bank/Getty Images]


Schoenian also paid attention to the goat's gang milling in the background. It's interesting that it's just the one goat that's having fun. Schoenian says that it's probably because that goat is older than its companions and is the dominant individual. Like other animals, goats have a social hierarchy. Less dominant members of the group, therefore, don't enjoy the same things that the dominant ones do. This is why the goat's companions are just looking on and not joining in.


This means that the goat wasn't going crazy because it thought that its reflection was another goat looking for a fight. For one thing, goats don't actually see what's in front of them all that well. They evolved as prey, which means their peripheral vision is better. Thus, the goat wasn't breaking and entering, or trying to fight its own reflection. It was just having a bit of albeit destructive fun.

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