You may have seen the insane-looking “monster” goat in a now-viral video from Egypt currently doing the rounds on the Internet. Despite its character-like appearance, it is, in fact, real, and apparently, simply an unfortunate victim of the genetic Russian roulette that accompanies extreme animal breeding.
Known for their impressive milk production, kid-producing prowess (three to four per birth), and tasty meat, the Damascus goat – alternatively known as the Shami, Aleppo, Halep, Baladi, or Damascene – is also beloved by breeders throughout the Middle East for its unique appearance.
Poor old “monster” goat, it’s not his fault. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say.
Most notably, the typical Damasus goat has a blunt snout and raised nasal bridge that gives it the appearance of losing one too many boxing matches. They are also rather large, standing about 78 centimeters (31 inches) at the shoulder, and have ridiculously long, pendulous ears 27-32 centimeters (10.6 to 12.6 inches) in length that are sometimes cut into strange, tubular nubs.
And now that this breed has become popular as an exotic pet, the features that were once more subtle in livestock populations are being purposefully exaggerated. Damascus goat fanciers proudly show off their most “beautiful” specimens online and even enter them in local and nationwide competitions.
The ideal show goat now has such a foreshortened nose that its head appears square when viewed in profile. Thankfully, however, kids are born with more normally shaped snouts – necessary to suckle from their mothers – and grow into their looks over time.
But the beast seen in the video above, posted yesterday in a Facebook group for buying and selling hobby goats in Egypt, makes a standard Damascus look positively mundane. With its disproportionately giant head, vaulted skull, freakishly long neck, flabby skin, and unnerving underbite, this male (the huge, swinging testicles are quite the giveaway) is likely the result of many generations of the most dramatically featured individuals being mated together.
According to Newsweek, the goat may be kept around to mate with standard females in order to produce offspring that are just the right amount of weird.
Goat connoisseurs in the Arab Gulf region will reportedly pay as much as 250,000 Saudi Riyals ($67,000) for the finest Damascus specimens, which, like Arabian horses, are cherished in the local culture and bred and traded for lucrative profit.