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Climbing Goats of Morocco: Why Do They Do This?

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Have you ever seen a goat in a tree? In the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, a curious creature lives just like a funny bird. These goats have developed an interesting way of getting around – they climb! With their hooves clinging to the rocky cliffs, these goats can travel almost anywhere they please. But why do they do this? What benefits does it offer them?

Many Moroccan goats are giving the odd Tennessee fainting goats a run for their money regarding the weirdness factor! Nope, these goats don’t faint at the slightest bit of excitement or fright — and that’s a good thing because they’ve taken to the trees!

Yes, you read that right. These goats hang out in trees, argan trees, to be specific, like giant, furry, wingless, four-legged birds.

Tree climbing goats
Photo: Arnaud 25

The goats go out on a limb for food in argan trees. Argan trees provide fruit and nuts, which are also prized among humans who use argan oil for cooking and natural remedies.

What are Tree Climbing Goats?

Goats that climb Argan trees
Photo: Ken Feisel

These goats don’t possess special talent; they’re just exceedingly sure-footed and clever (or perhaps foolish?) Goats are, by nature, extremely good climbers. Many goats are native to areas with treacherous mountain terrain, so they’ve evolved to be very confident climbers.

These Moroccan goats have repurposed their mountain climbing skills, applying them to the argan trees instead. As you can imagine, these tree-faring goats have garnered lots of attention, especially from travelers.

If you’re planning a trip to Morocco, goat lovers must book a tour to see these incredible tree goats. However, avoid traveling between May and August, as they cannot climb the trees during these months. That’s by an alliance formed in 1995 to preserve the precious argan forest.

Goats in a tree
Photo: Dromedar61

If you’re looking for a bit of entertainment closer to home, simply import an argan tree, purchase a few goats (though steer clear of the Tennessee fainting goats unless you’re up for a bit of extra entertainment), and presto—a fabulous, live-action lawn ornament!

What benefits do the goats get from climbing trees?

Goats in Morocco Climbing Trees

The goats eat the argan fruit and nuts from the argan tree, which produces argan oil. Goats love these oil-rich kernels, which humans highly seek after. The goat’s digestive system makes it easier to crack the nut open.

There are some dangers associated with climbing goats. If they fall, they can be seriously injured or killed. Goats climbing trees seem like friendly things that animals do. You don’t want to distract them as they eat or seek out the argan oil. Let the animals be as they go about their business.

Role of Argan Oil

Small Bottles of Argan Oil

If you ever find yourself in Morocco, you may see small, goat-like creatures scaling the argan trees. These animals are actually argan-eating goats, and their presence is beneficial and controversial. The goats eat all the fruits of the argan tree, seeds, and everything.

While this may seem harmful to the tree, the goats actually help to disperse the seeds and encourage new growth. In addition, their digestive process helps soften the seed’s hard outer shell, making it easier for argan oil to be extracted. As a result, these curious animals play an important role in producing argan oil.

What are the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and where are they located?

Morocco Goats in Trees

The Atlas Mountains of Morocco are located in North Africa. They span several thousand miles and include some of the highest peaks in the world. The climate and terrain vary greatly, from snow-capped mountains to barren deserts.

The goats in the Atlas Mountains are a special breed known as Barbary goats. These goats are well-adapted to the harsh conditions of the mountains. They have dense fur that protects them from the cold and tough hooves that help them grip the rocky terrain.

The goats climb the cliffs by digging their hooves into cracks and crevices. They are very agile and can even climb upside down.

Goats in this part of Morocco commonly climb Argania spinosa trees (or argan trees) to munch on Argan fruit

Goats on Trees in Essaouira, Morocco

If you’re traveling in Souss Valley, you might come across an unusual sight: goats climbing trees. These goats are attracted to the yellow fruits of the argan tree, and their diet helps to produce a unique and sought-after oil. The goats eat the fruit pulp, which passes through their digestive system.

The resulting kernels are then cold-pressed to extract the oil. This oil is used in a variety of cosmetics and culinary applications, and it is prized for its many benefits. So next time you see a goat climbing a tree, remember that they play an important role in producing this valuable oil.


Why do goats climb trees in Morocco?

Acrobatic goats in southwestern Morocco scale argan forests to consume the berries. An open tree full of goats is a fascinating sight, although it is necessary for its continued existence.

Are goats in trees real?

Yes, goats in trees are a real phenomenon. They are found in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco to consume argan fruit and argan nuts in the tree.

Where are there goats in trees?

Goats are often found in the forests of the Sous Valley, Morocco, and in Western Algeria.

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