The goat is the eighth of the 12-year cycle of animals in the Chinese zodiac. One of the theories about the order of the 12 animals is the connection to animals' lives in different periods. As the first animals to be tamed by humans, goats are rather familiar to us. The best time for herding goats is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Hence why the goat is also associated with the Earthly Branch wèi (未), and the hours 1 to 3 in the afternoon.
In nature, the goat, or genus capra, is comprised of nine species, including the wild goat, the markhor and some ibexes. Here are some fun facts about goats.
Habitat and habits Goats are mountain animals, and their wide-spread cloven hooves make them very good at climbing. They can easily walk and jump on steep mountain sides. Goats are social animals, and a female goat is usually dominant in a herd – except during the mating season.
Diet As herbivores, goats like grass, mosses and other plants. Like cattle, goats also have four stomach compartments. When they are eating, the food goes to rumen, then to the reticulum and omasum, and finally to the abomasum.
The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac
The Chinese zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle, with each year related to an animal: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
But how much do you know about these animals and their symbolic meaning in Chinese zodiac? Follow the series to find out.