What Eats Goats? 10 Goat Predators (Animal Answers)

In this guide, we’ll answer the question:

“What eats goats?”

First, you’ll find a short summary of what animals eat goats in the wild and then get a detailed list of goat predators.

There are two types of goats—domestic and wild—that are members of the Bovidae animal family and Caprinae subfamily, which is closely related to sheep.

The domestic goat species of goat-antelope are typically kept as livestock that was domesticated from the wild and is one of the oldest domesticated species of animal in the entire world.

The average lifespan for goats is 15 to 18 years.

What eats goats
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What Eats Goats?

Animals that eat goats include bears, bobcats, coyotes, eagles, feral pigs, foxes, mountain lions, wild dogs, wolves, and humans. A goat has many natural predators and falls prey to a variety of species because it is defenseless.

Goat Predators

Bears

A bear’s diet mainly comprises fish, insects, berries, birds, and mammals, but will occasionally attack and eat livestock like domestic goats when there is a food shortage.

More commonly in nature is the predation of mountain goats which are not in the same genus (Capra) as domestic or wild goats. Grizzly bears can be a significant predator of mountain goats.

Bobcats

Bobcats are fierce and opportunistic hunters that can kill many types of animals for food, and easily eats goats in the wild and on farmland.

A bobcat stealthily targets a goat and delivers a death blow with a leaping pounce. Therefore, livestock owners need to take necessary steps to protect their goats from falling prey to bobcat attacks.

Bobcats are nocturnal, making it easy to target goats on a farm that are within close range of this animal’s habitat.

Coyotes

Coyotes are one of the most common goat predators and are a threat to this animal species because coyotes can kill their prey quickly.

A coyote typically attacks the throat in adult goats in order to cause death by strangulation,.

In baby goats, called “kids”, a coyote will often bite the skull and spinal area for a fast kill.

Animal forensics reveal that coyotes eat the abdominal cavity first and leave the hide and bones for other animals to scavenge.

Eagles

Eagles, particularly Golden eagles, occasionally attack and kill goats in the wild and on farms.

Golden eagles rely on 1,200 pounds of crushing power per square inch on each foot to kill small- and medium-sized goats. These raptor birds are also known to dive in from the sun to blind their prey.

In one research publication, goats and sheep accounted for 20.5% of Golden eagles’ diet breeding in Corsica, France.

Feral Pigs

Feral pigs, particularly large boars, are a real threat to lambs and goats during the lambing and kidding season (i.e., giving birth).

A feral pig will kill and eat baby goats shortly after birth and up to one year old.

However, baby goats are not the old type of goat a feral pig will attack. These animals also target weak goats in the mob.

Another interesting fact about these predators is they’ll scavenge on stillborn goats and lambs. Normally lambing and goat carcasses are found after the mob has finished the birthing process; however, few can be found when feral pigs are present.

Foxes

Foxes rely on their well-developed sense of hearing, sight, and smell to hunt livestock, such as goats, in rural and urban environments. However, it’s rare for a fox to attack an adult goat.

Foxes commonly target injured, young, or weak goats when hunting because it’s easier prey for this animal.

A fox compensates for its small size and strength limitation with its ability to bite its prey repeatedly.

Mountain Lions

Mountain lions, also known as cougars, take down domesticated goats and wild goats with ease.

Similar to bobcats, a mountain lion stalk goats at night and pounce on them with a lethal bite to the spinal cord.

Wild Dogs

Wild dogs threaten rangeland goat populations throughout the globe.

According to National Geographic, in Africa, wild dogs have an 80% success rate, making them the most effective predators in that part of the world.

In this article featured on The Land, the National Wild Dog Management Coordinator confirms that wild dogs are responsible for declining goat populations and extinction in Western Australia and Queensland.

Wolves

Wolves are carnivorous animals that prefer attacking and eating large-hoofed mammals called ungulates, but occasionally target goats as well.

Based on government data analyzed by the Humane Society, wolves kill very few cattle and sheep in the United States but it does happen.

Humans

Humans top the list of animals that eat goats.

According to data collected by Huff Post, global red meat consumption is constantly growing and goats account for about 6% worldwide. Sudan has the highest annual goat meat consumption rate of 8.6 pounds of goat per person and China leads the industrialized nations with an annual rate of 3.5 pounds.

What Do Goats Eat?

Goats are herbivores that must eat vegetation to survive.

You can visit our other guide on what do goats eat to find out more about what these mammals feed on for nutrition.

Goat predators

Animals That Eat Goats Summary

You now know what eats goats in the wild and which species are the top goat predators.

As you discovered in this guide, there are about 10 animals that eat goats in nature. And the inability to fend off attacks from strong predators makes them suitable prey for many animals.