Chances are you’ve been online in recent years and watched a video compilation of fainting goats. It looks pretty funny looking, right? (Although, it’s probably less fun for the poor goats.)
Have you ever wondered why these fainting goat actually faint? Many people think it’s because they’re scared, but
it turns out that’s not the case at all. Fainting goats seem to actually faint because of a skeletal disorder called myotonia congenita.
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Why does a fainting goat faint?
Not all goats faint, but the breed that does is known as Tennessee fainting goats (also known as wooden-legged
goats, and nervous goats). They first appeared in the U.S. in the 1800s in Tennessee, but no one is really sure how or why they ended up there. And although they are called fainting goats , they don’t faint at all.
Fainting goats have an inherited disorder that affects the muscles affects the muscles used to move, called myotonia congenita (or Thomsen’s called Thomsen’s disease). When the muscles of this breed of goat
contract, such as when they are about to run, they slam they clench instead of relaxing after the contraction. This makes the muscles of the goat stiff and rigid, making them unable to move.
This muscle stiffness usually occurs after a goat is startled and has tried to run away, eventually causing her to fall over. Hence, you have the fainting goat that looks like she was so scared that she fainted. But these goats are actually awake the whole time awake and therefore did not faint at all!
How old do fainting goats have to be to faint?
The age at which fainting goats begin to faint varies for each individual goat, but younger goats are more likely to
experience this more often than older ones. As goats get older, they learn to adapt by being less likely to spook and by learning to stand on stiff muscles standing. And did you know? There is a scale when it comes to fainting
goats with a 1, meaning the goat has never had a seizure before experienced and 6, meaning the goat is prone to it.
What to do when a goat faints?
After the goat passes out, it will lie motionless for up to 15 seconds, after which the paralyzed muscles begin to retract. Once it feels relief, it tries to get up, but its movements will be limited and chaotic for a few minutes. Within 1-2 minutes of passing out, the animals return to normal life. Therefore, if there are no predators nearby and the blow after fainting was not strong, fainting goats do not need help or care.
In rare cases, the danger may be a severe fall. Fainting goats fall on their backs if they are paralyzed, which can cause them to collide with a sharp or hard object. In theory, they can also be harmed if they are frightened while running. In practice, cases of injury during fainting are very rare.
How long do fainting goats stay faint?
Myotonic goats usually do not faint for long. In fact, muscle stiffness usually lasts only between 10-15 seconds. After that, the goat can get back on its feet and continue on with its day.
Is it bad for fainting goats to faint?
Although it is probably not fun for a goat to be startled and fall from locked muscles, there is really nothing to
worry about. The biggest potential problem in this situation is if the goat falls over from somewhere high. In that case, they can certainly be injured. But otherwise, these fainting periods are not harmful to the goat. At most, it is an uncomfortable moment that passes quickly passes.
Despite the name of this breed, fainting goats do not faint at all do not faint. Instead, they experience the result of a
hereditary condition that locks their muscles when they are startled, with as a result, they fall over. But they don’t lose consciousness, and the fainting doesn’t take long for them to get back on their feet!