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8 Reasons Why a Ram and Goat Are Not the Same

by Gloria Louden
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Have you ever found yourself mixing up ram and goat? If you just said, ‘Yes!’, you’re not alone. Surprisingly, many people find it difficult to differentiate them. This tendency is especially common among people who have grown up in big cities where farm animals are not to be found.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean you should stay ignorant. Especially having in mind that most of the differences are extremely easy to spot. Here we have compiled eight reasons why a ram and goat are not the same.

1. They are Different Species

Although closely related, rams and goats are different animals. Rams are male sheep, and, obviously, sheep and goats are not the same. While both are part of the same subfamily — Caprinae, they have different genera — respectively, Ovis (sheep) and Capra (goats).

2. Size

Rams are bigger and heavier than goats. As with everything in nature — there are exceptions, but normally rams are larger than a typical goat. This should make it easier for you to separate one from another.

3. Fur

Generally, sheep are known for their fluffy wool, whereas goats are covered with hair. Due to their larger size, rams produce more wool than both female sheep (ewes, pronounced ‘yoos’) and goats.

In addition, sheep’s wool needs to be sheared at least once a year. This is not a concern with goats’ coat, however.

Albeit less common, there are the so-called “hair sheep” that also have no wool. In this case, you can differentiate them by looking at their tails. Sheep’s tails hang down, while goats’ tails point upwards.

4. Horns

Rams have long horns that are curved over the back of their head. Goats, on the other hand, have short, pointy horns.

5. Beard

Rams, as well as female sheep, don’t have beards. On the contrary, most male and female goats do.

6. Mature Male Odor

As they grow into sexual maturity, male goats (bucks) develop a distinctive odor. It is particularly potent during the mating season. Contrariwise, sexually mature rams emit very little to no odor.

7. Flock Behavior

Rams (and sheep in general) and goats normally exhibit different behavior. Goats are usually more independent and curious than sheep, which tend to travel in flocks. In fact, their flocking instinct is so strong that they become hectic if separated from the rest of the flock.

Hence, it is easier to keep sheep fenced than goats.

8. Male Aggression

In both species, aggression might be provoked during the mating season, as well as when the animal feels in danger. Aggressive rams lower their head when about to attack. Angry male goats (bucks), however, raise on their back legs and then crash down on their enemy with their heads.

To prevent an attack, don’t get close to the animal if it seems aggressive, especially if it’s a wild one.

The Takeaway

The aim of this article was to pinpoint the main differences between ram and goat. Now, after having read the presented information, you should be able to comfortably tell them apart and avoid getting into awkward situations.

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