A video of a deformed-looking male goat has been doing the round online for over a month, with many referring to the animal as a ‘goat monster’. It turns out he’s actually just a Damascus Goat.
It’s true that the male in this viral video has some exaggerated facial features – disproportionately giant head, freakishly long neck, vaulted skull and weird underbite – but to be fair, the whole of the Damascus breed of goat looks like it should only exist in sci-fi or horror films. Not saying we should judge an animal by its looks alone – in fact Damascus goats are in many ways superior to most of the common-looking breeds – but there’s no arguing the fact that these guys look like they ran face first into a wall at full speed.
Photo: video screengrab
Damascus goats have been bred in Syria and other Near East countries for millennia, but many of us Westerners only learned about their existence a few months ago, when an Egyptian man called Ahmed Ramadan posted a video of a bizarre looking male goat on Facebook. People were so freaked out about its appearance that they started sharing it and referring to the animal as a “Goat Monster”.
While the specimen in question was most likely the result of extreme animal breeding to emphasize some of the breed’s physical traits, a simple Google search of “Damascus goat” reveals that most specimens have a very peculiar look about them. They have a blunt snout and raised nasal bridge, their ears look like cartilaginous tubes growing out of their skull and their eyes are located way up on the side of their head.
Interestingly, Damascus goats have a very normal looking snout when they are young, apparently to make it easier for them to suckle from their mothers, and only grow into their bizarre look over time. However, they are born with these extremely long ears, which are most often cut into shorter, tubular nubs.
Believe it or not, Damascus goats are valued by many for their looks, among other things. Like the “Goat Monster” in this viral video, some specimens are bred to sport these extreme facial features, which can apparently earn their owners more money. Believe it or not, a Damascus goat won the title of “Most Beautiful Goat” at the Mazayen al-Maaz competition in Riyadh, in 2008.
As I said, there is more to Damascus goats than meets the eye. Although not as common as other more normal-looking breeds of goats, these animals are highly valued for the genetically superior quality of their milk, which apparently helps the young grow at a faster rate than other breeds, tasty meat and breeding prowess (2 to 4 kids per birth). Standing about 78 centimeters (31 inches) at the shoulder, Damascus goats are larger than most other goat breeds and yield more milk.
World News Australia once reported that the finest Damascus goats can sell for up to 250,000 Saudi Riyals ($ 67,000).