The Mystery of the Goats on Trees in Morocco

BySteven I. Green

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Even if you under no circumstances visited Morocco, chances are you may possibly have found the peculiar images of the goats on trees. A tree comprehensive of goats is a placing sight. It seems just about unnatural, as if another person put the goats there for a photo shoot.

Goats on trees in Morocco
Goats on trees in Morocco

As incredible as this could seem, the goats actually climb these trees on their personal. And they even feel to have a excellent time up there. But you really should know that these are not just any trees. These are the significantly sought-soon after Argania Spinosa, recognized as Argan. The tree is indigenous to the calcareous semidesert Sous Valley, in the southwest aspect of Morocco.

Why Do Goats Climb on Trees in Morocco?

The simple answer is: for food items. Due to the fact the dry local weather of Morocco doesn’t allow for considerably vegetation to grow on the ground, the goats are joyful to obtain their food items on trees.

Argan fruit eaten by the goats that climb on trees in Morocco
Argan fruit

They like to consume the Argan fruit which has a thick, pulpy flesh. So they climb the trees instinctively, captivated to the sweet odor.

Watch these bizarre goats in action right here:

How Do Goats Climb on Trees?

Goats are rapid and agile creatures. They have been identified to climb not only trees, but also mountains and steep rocks. They aid on their own with their hoofs which have two toes that can distribute out to develop a a lot more secure grip. Also, greater up their legs there are two claws, identified as dewclaws, which they use to cling to steep rocks or tree branches.

These goats can effortlessly climb to the prime of the 10-meter tall trees that improve in this element of Morocco. They go up steep angles, soar from branches, and are rapid to discover places where by food items grows. In some cases they also climb up trees to escape predators.

Tree Climbing Goats and the Producing of Moroccan Argan Oil

Of all the curious tales I’ve learned in Morocco, this is by considerably the most intriguing one. Soon after eating the Argan fruits the goats defecate the seeds, which are later on applied to make the valuable Argan oil. As the seeds move by the goat’s intestine, they turn into softer and easier to open up. In some cases the goats also spit out the seeds when feeding on the fruits.

argan seeds defecated by the goats that climb on trees in Morocco
Argan seeds

Of training course, people may perhaps also harvest the fruits themselves, but the goats preserve them a stage. So no marvel that goat herders assistance and stimulate this strange agricultural method. They guide their herds through the Argan forests, the place the goats can climb up and feed themselves from the trees. But they enable the animals unfastened only immediately after the fruit is ripe and entirely mature.

According to the Agronomic and Veterinary Institute in Rabat, Argan nuts eliminated by goats signify practically 60 for each cent of the nuts made use of in building Argan oil. The relaxation are harvested by women who get the fruit straight from the trees and grind the seeds inside of the nuts to produce the oil.

How Is the Argan Oil Created?

Argan oil is among the the most high-priced in the entire world. In Morocco this oil is ordinarily made use of both as a savory dip for bread, or in beauty products and solutions.

Edible Argan oil used as a dip for bread
Edible Argan oil utilised as a dip for bread

If you acquire it locally, it prices around $30-50 a liter. On the other hand, on the international markets you are going to spend way far more than that for even a compact bottle.

Argan oil sold on the markets of Morocco
Argan oil sold on the markets of Morocco

Most Argan oil is generated by local cooperatives of Berber women of all ages around the metropolitan areas of Agadir and Essaouira, where by the Argan tree is popular. The procedure is pretty laborious as it’s predominantly finished by hand. The Argan fruit is 1st dried in the sunlight, peeled, then the seed is crushed with stones.

We ended up capable to notice the process on our working day journey from Marrakech to Essaouira, when our driver took us to a women’s cooperative. The cooperatives employ the service of mostly widows and destitute ladies, presenting them a wage, free of charge childcare and overall health insurance policies. The gals perform quite tricky to take out the shell of the kernels by pounding them with a stone. It takes up to three days of grinding for each woman to get a person liter of Argan oil!

The Unhappy Part of Tourism

Yet another reason you will see so many goats on trees in Morocco is because of tourism. When the goat herders uncovered the visitors’ fascination for their animals’ unconventional behavior, they made the decision to exploit the problem.

As a result, lots of herders started out luring their goats up on trees to earn recommendations from travellers. At the identical time, the tour corporations and vacation guides commenced bringing massive groups of tourists to see Morocco’s eccentric “goat trees”. So now, when people pull more than to just take photographs of the animals or pose with them, they are questioned to tip the herder right before they are allowed to do it.

Posing with a baby goat in Morocco
Posing with a child goat

However, the animals are now abused. To keep the goats from leaping down, the herders tie them to the tree branches for several hours, right up until the travellers end coming. In summer, when temperatures can soar to the hundreds, the goats get extremely tired and dehydrated.

Animal rights activists started a really serious marketing campaign versus this method, but the herders argue that it’s their only way to make a dwelling and feed these animals. Specifically during these final decades of drought in Morocco.

Where to See Goats on Trees in Morocco

If you want to see the tree climbing goats, you will have to travel to the Souss-Massa-Draa location, in the southwestern aspect of Morocco. Most visitors pass via this spot on their way to Essaouira or Agadir, which are lovely locations for any Morocco itinerary.

You will see goats adorning trees along the approximately hundred-mile highway from Marrakech to Essaouira. Even so, these goats are most probably ‘planted‘ there by goat herders attempting to make a buck.

goats on trees in Morocco
Goats on trees on the road to Essaouira in Morocco

If you want to see reliable goats that climb trees of their possess totally free will, I motivate you to scout the area with a good local information who can choose you farther away from the most important highway. Soon after all, the cause we feel tree goats are so adorable is precisely for the reason that they do it by natural means.

But if you really don’t have time to travel all over and you are certainly established see the goats, the types on the aspect of the highway may be a good option for you.

The ideal time to see goats climbing on trees in Morocco is in late spring, early summer months (May well – June), when Argan fruits are ripe.


Are goats in trees fake?
No, they are not. Goats climb the natural way on trees to locate foods when they simply cannot find it on the ground.
In which else other than Morocco can you come across goats on trees?
This organic phenomenon is distinctive to North Africa. The goats are attracted to the Argan fruit which grows generally in southwestern part of Morocco and western Algeria
Do climbing goats at any time tumble from trees?
When goats climb trees freely, with out staying coaxed, it’s very not likely that many will knock each other off the trees. Having said that, when the herders pressure them up the trees and tie them down, they from time to time stumble and fall breaking their legs.
How substantial can goats climb?
The goats in Morocco can climb as significant as 10-meter (32-feet) trees.

Goats on trees in Morocco


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