Are Goats Able to Walk Backwards

Many animals are not able to move backward, for instance, chickens, if in a tight dead-end space have to turn themselves around to get back out. Animals can become stuck and perhaps be put into dangerous situations because of this. It is good to ask, as a goat owner then, if goats can walk backward?

Goats can walk backward. Goats have a personal bubble that if breached will cause movement, being forward or backward. It is most often that they move forward though as that is more natural for them to do. But it doesn’t stop them from moving backward if they can’t go forward.

But that is just one question answered as we look into the unique characteristics of Goats that help them survive and live as mammals of jovial and quirky behaviors. Keep reading to learn more oddities about them.

Goats View

Walking backward may not seem like something extraordinary to animals, but it is rather uncommon to see animals travel in reverse. The same can be said for goats as they prefer to walk forward, but they do have a certain characteristic that allows them better vision than some other animals.

Goats are capable of seeing 320 degrees when looking ahead normally. This gives them much more domain over an area as they can keep an eye on more land than normal. This is due to the shapes of the pupils as well as the placement of their eyes.

The eyes are more towards the front of the head of the animal and placed higher above the snout to not obstruct the view. This means they don’t have a blind spot in from of them as some other animals. But they do have a blind spot behind them of about 20-40 degrees. But they have a way to overcome this that will be discussed later.

Also, the pupil of a goat is rectangular in shape, unlike human circular pupils. This gives goats the ability to bring in more light at larger angles. That is how a 320-degree view is achieved. But that is not all that is accomplished with the rectangular pupils. Goats have a high ability of night vision because of this light coming into the eyes. They can regulate how much light comes in much better than most animals, giving them more control over their sight than others.

Needless to say, goats do not have a problem with vision. Their eyes are great for the catching sight of unwanted predators and their “space bubble” is influenced greatly by their sight.

The Neck Turn

But the unique eyesight of goats just hits the surface of the quirky and strange maneuvers which a goat can make. Despite already having the ability to see a much greater view than most animals in the world, it wants more with its neck capabilities. I am talking specifically about the neck turn.

Goats have the option to turn their heads, just as any other creature out there, but unlike other animals, they can turn their heads nearly 360 degrees. Not to mention in other ways such as upside-down or diagonally oblong. Goats are strange in what they do, but this ability to crane their necks gives them more flexibility in moving backward. Though it is still awkward and not as efficient as walking normally.

Goats prefer to walk forward and thus don’t exhibit their skills very often, they will just turn around and face wherever they wish to go. But this is normal behavior and should not be a concern to see them craning their necks in strange ways. Due to their long necks, it is normal for them to move as described.


Now on to the oddity that seems even stranger perhaps than the first two. The carpal-walk consists of goats walking on the joint above their hoof joint. Sometimes this is just to give their feet a rest and their carpal joint is rather strong and will not be damaged by this. But it is good to be aware of how often this is occurring.

In many cases, if a goat is walking on its carpal joints more often than normal, it is a good sign that footrot has occurred. This is not good for the hoof of your goat. They will be uncomfortable and perhaps in danger of permanent damage to their feet. Be aware of the goat’s needs and if a vet visit is in order, do not waste time in making an appointment or having the footrot dealt with.

It is important to note however that the carpal walk is natural, especially when a goat is eating. From the time they are young, goats will eat on their knees, giving their necks and body less strain, putting them in a comfortable position to eat in peace. So don’t be alarmed if they are on their knees while enjoying a good alfalfa or hay.


Goats are fun animals and can be a great pet or used for other purposes, ranging from milk production, meat products, or just for company. It is believed that goats were among the first domesticated animals on the planet and as such make a great asset to a family. They do have their quirks and strange behaviors though. The ability to walk backward touches briefly on the subject, merely skimming the water.

Goats have a wide lens eye which allows them to see much more than then normal animals at any one time. Their rectangular pupils make this possible. Also, their ability to turn their heads nearly 360 degrees is unique for a grazing mammal, but provides other uses, especially in the wild. Finally, their carpal walk is extraordinary and may seem strange, but it has its uses, especially at mealtime.

Goats are great animals, and learning both their functionalities and quirks is a good endeavor as an owner. It is important to know if your goats are acting strange or not so that if they need help then you can get it to them. But despite this, goats do not take much maintenance in general.

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