Raising Goats from the Teeth Up

People who aren’t familiar with goats are sometimes afraid they’re going to bite them, which is a rather baseless fear not only because goats are generally some of the least aggressive animals around (headbutting aside) but also because they have no top front teeth.

Goats have no top front teeth

Even Pinta's dental pad is adorable.

See those gorgeous gums? That’s all they have up there — just a dental pad.

They do have bottom teeth in the front, however.

Goats only have front teeth on the bottom

How sweet of Pasqualina to model her teeth!

When a goat is full grown, he or she will have eight incisors (biting or cutting teeth), all permanent teeth. Just like humans, though, they start out with baby teeth, so to speak. A kid has all small, sharp teeth for about a year. When the kid is about a year old, the center two teeth go bye-bye and are replaced by two permanent teeth. Then about every year or so after that, two teeth moving away from the center teeth on either side are replaced with permanent teeth until the goat has all eight permanent incisors by about four or five years old.

At that point, the teeth start to space apart, and you can begin to tell the age of the goat by the wear and tear on the teeth as opposed to the number of permanent versus baby teeth.

So does all this mean you can’t really be harmed by a goat’s teeth? Not exactly.

They *do* have 24 molars for chewing their cud in the back of their mouths — six on each side, upper and lower. And they are sharp as all get out, so you don’t want to be sticking your fingers toward the back of a goat’s mouth.

In other words, although it’s quite cute to see and feel the lil’ baby goats gnawing on the tip of your finger between their incisors and dental pad, once they start shifting that head to get your finger to the back of their mouth, you *must* get out of there, lest you become the cud.

Just trust me on that one, mkay?

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2 Responses to “Raising Goats from the Teeth Up”
  1. 11.22.2010

    Oh, those back teeth really can hurt. I agree though that nibbling and tugging on shirts aside, they are pretty easygoing about biting.

    Yes they are pretty good tuggers when they want to be even without top front teeth!

    [Reply]

  2. 11.23.2010

    Ciao!! This is precious, thanks for sharing!!!

    Glad you enjoyed Alessandra!

    [Reply]


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