What does it look like?
Feral goats vary in size and colour, and have a 'blocky' appearance, with stout strong legs designed for climbing. Adult male goats stand 76-91cm at the shoulder, with a body length of 116-152 cm, and weigh 45 - 55kg. Females look similar to males but are considerably smaller, weighing 25-35kg. They are social, preferring to travel in small groups.
Generalist herbivore that browses a wide variety of plant species but often concentrates the majority of feeding on a small number of favoured species. They are able to stand on two legs to reach higher vegetation, and will eat fresh leaf litter as well as live vegetation. Feral goats are able to occupy a wide variety of climates and habitat types, and are able to survive in the absence of a permanent water source. They can tolerate a wide range of climatic conditions.
Why is it a problem?
Four-compartment fore-stomach and regurgitation-re ingestion strategy enables efficient digestion of leaf material, facilitating use of a wide variety of plant species. Goats destroy the under storey of vegetation and, when combined with possum damage to the upper canopy, severe deterioration of native forest occurs. Pest plant invasion can occur under these circumstances. Goats also damage vegetation planted on land retired for soil conservation purposes and newly planted or young trees in exotic forests. Goats are one of the most destructive animals found in forests. They have the ability to live in a healthy state where other animals would die out.
Polygynous mating system (one male with a group of females) with high reproductive success. Females can become pregnant from 6 months old, but first year breeders contribute little to population growth. Feral goats are able to conceive year round but mating activity tends to peak December/January and June/July. One or two (occasionally three) offspring are produced per year. Gestation takes approximately150 days. Juveniles stay with the mother for about 6 months.
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