It’s the time of year where I post photos of (mostly dead and dieing) sheep online and people have already been calling them goats (I’m not sure if this is insulting for them… probably actually more insulting to the goats as I’ll describe). Plus I was watching an episode of the West Wing the other day on which a sheep was featured and they even called it a goat, so I wanted to clear up this sheep/goat mystery. In Senegal there are lots of both animals and truth be told, when I stepped off the plane I couldn’t tell the difference between Senegal’s short-haired sheep and the goats. When a goat is standing next to a sheep you will notice that the goat is quite a bit smaller, and it’s ears and tail are sticking up rather than down like the sheep’s. Sheep’s tails actually really gross me out. When not shortened, they are a little over a foot long but the sheep can only move the top quarter or so, so the rest of it ends up flopping around like a limb that has fallen asleep. The goat’s coat seems coarser and they come in many different colors where the sheep, even though you’ll see the occasional brown or black one, are nearly all white. Sheep have very spindly legs and goats look a little more sturdy, especially the little ones; kids love to frolic and climb and jump where as lambs stumble along looking like they might fall over at any moment (though both are cute). By sound, both can irritate the shit out of you, but goats sound eerily like people screaming. Sheep are loud and annoying but at least you know it’s an animal and not the neighbor kid getting beat up. Intelligence-wise, sheep are the dumbest animals in the barnyard, and even though I’ve had the urge to pick off goats like a sharpshooter because they are soooo irritating, they are relatively clever. So there you go, now you can have fun trying to “name that animal” when looking through my photos.
Here is a little family of goats, happy as can be, eating trash.
And here is a female sheep with her lamb, standing around being stupid.