Sheep, sheep and goat: how to tell them apart?

We often speak pictorially of the “wolf in the corral”, but this word mainly refers to the habitat reserved for sheep farming. The sheep, of the genus “ovis”, include several animal species, the main ones being the ewe and ewe, the ram and the lamb, as well as the lamb. The word sheep is used specifically to designate the castrated male of the species, which is raised for its meat, while the word ram designates the uncastrated male, intended for reproduction. All are ruminants, which have four different stomachs.

The subfamily Caprinae

When zooming out, we see that sheep belong to the subfamily of goats (Caprinae) and to the large family of Bovidae (Bovidae). If, between the two, we focus on the Caprinae, we find another species that has characteristics in common with sheep and sheep, but is not sheep: the goat, which belongs to the genus “Capra”, the genus that brings together goats and goats.

Sheep and goat, two females

The sheep is distinguished from the sheep and the goat by its sex: in fact, the sheep is the female of the sheep, with which it can have lambs and/or lambs, while the goat is the female of the goat, with which it can reproduce. and give birth to so-called children. In everyday language, the word sheep can, however, refer to the male – ram – and the female – the sheep – without distinction of sex.

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physical differences

The goat, which is sometimes nicknamed the bique or biquette, has a small, lean body whose bones are often pointed, while ewes and ewes have a more stocky body. Goats also often have beards on their chins, as well as fur growths on their necks – called tassels or pendants.

While the goat’s coat is mostly long-haired and sometimes short-haired, ewes and sheep are covered in thick wool. Goat coat color varies by breed, while wild sheep are usually brown and domestic sheep are white, black, intermediate, and even spotted. The goat’s tail is shorter than that of a sheep or ewe, which is called “truncated”.

Sheep, sheep and goats, on the other hand, have short, thin legs in common. They are all two-toed ungulates (Cetartiodactyla). The peculiarity of the goat lies in its quirk of climbing and jumping. Its small size, in particular, makes it a particularly agile beast. Another peculiarity of the goat is in its eyes, as its horizontal pupil allows it to have a wide field of vision: its eyes remain parallel to the ground even when the goat lowers its head to graze.

The thorny issue of the horns

The presence or absence of horns is not a particular distinguishing sign: in fact, some goats have horns (usually arched), others do not, just as some breeds of sheep have horns and others do not. Also, depending on the breed, horns can be found on both ewes and ewes (e.g. wild sheep), or just on males. Note that in most cases where breeds have horns, only one pair is found.

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Sheep, sheep, goats: which habitat?

Rustic, the sheep adapts to many habitats and lives in both arid regions and mountainous heaths. Goats, present in all regions of the world, often live in the mountains. Sheep, sheep and goats are herd animals, which have a highly developed herding instinct. Within their flock, sheep communicate through bleating or through scent marking. Finally, both sheep and goats have a substantially identical life expectancy, between fifteen and twenty years.

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