Fact Check

Pic Really Shows 2 Goats Scaling Brick Wall?

"So apparently the laws of physics do not apply to goats," the image's caption read.

Published May 12, 2024

 (X user @AMAZINGNATURE)
Image courtesy of X user @AMAZINGNATURE
Claim:
A photograph genuinely shows two goats climbing what appears to be a sheer-faced wall.

An image shared to X on April 25, 2024, that had garnered more than 24.6 million views as of this publication supposedly showed two goats standing along a steep, brick wall. "So apparently the laws of physics do not apply to goats," the image's caption read.

A reverse-image search revealed the photograph has been published across social media channels for years, including on TikTok, X and Instagram. According to Snopes' research, the earliest iteration of the photo online was posted on Reddit in 2017. 

These goats climbing a brick wall
byu/raleysaled inGoatparkour

Because goats are known climbers and the pic did not have any signs of digital editing or AI, we rated this claim "True" — the image authentically documented a moment in time. However, its origin remained unknown.

Snopes ran the image through Hive Moderation, an AI-detection tool. According to the tool's analysis, the photograph was "not likely to contain AI-generated or deepfake content."

(Screenshot/Hive)

An early iteration of the photo existed on Pinterest, posted on March 22, 2017. That post described the photograph as being captured at "Castle Spielberg" — which presumably referred to Špilberk Castle in the Czech town of Brno. Snopes was unable to independently confirm the photo was taken there. Also, the Pinterest post did not say who supposedly took the photo or from what sources it got its information. No photographer was listed for Snopes to contact.

Snopes contacted experts in animal welfare to get their thoughts on the image. Johanna Hamburger, director and senior attorney for the advocacy group Animal Welfare Institute's Terrestrial Wildlife Program, wasn't surprised by the photo.

"Goats are truly phenomenal climbers," she wrote in an email. "The fact that the wall the goats pictured are climbing is uneven in terms of the bricks (some are jutting out) combined with the generous amount of grout that also provides surface area for the hoofs to cling to, leads me to believe this is legitimate."

Hamburger likened the goats in the photograph to species in Colorado that are "able to scale nearly sheer rock faces, clinging to the smallest of outcroppings with their specialized hoofs, which have two flexible pads that provide a remarkable grip." 

D.J. Schubert, a senior scientist in wildlife biology at the Animal Welfare Institute, said the goats in the photograph resembled domestic goats, though he wasn't able to determine their specific breed. 

Like cattle and sheep, goats are cloven-footed animals — that is, a goat's hoof "consists of two digits, instead of one solid entity like that of a horse." As Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service explains, these two digits are analogous to the third and fourth fingers of the human hand. The two toes allow species of goats, like mountain goats, to balance on and climb protrusions in cliff faces and walls, according to the U.S. Forest Service

A simple Google keyword search led Snopes to several videos posted by reputable publications showing the antics of wall-climbing goats. Take, for example, this video shared to YouTube by National Geographic on Sept. 10, 2016:

Or this video posted by PBS that shows the desert-dwelling Nubian ibex, a species of goat found in parts of the Middle East, climbing windswept mesas.:

Sources

Domestic Goats Climbinb Cliff - Google Search. https://www.google.com/search?q=domestic+goats+climbinb+cliff&oq=domestic+goats+climbinb+cliff&gs_lcrp=EgZjaHJvbWUyBggAEEUYOdIBCDM1NzlqMGo0qAIAsAIA&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8. Accessed 6 May 2024.

"GOAT CLIMBERS Remarkable Goat Skills. From Castle Spielberg in Brno, Czech Republic. | Mountain Goat, Goats, Animals." Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/733031276830781000/. Accessed 6 May 2024.

Google Lens. https://lens.google.com/search?p=AbrfA8pAkxwXKgk5qc3rzvPD9Y0SJT0wf_7EZtQ8VSV0XbU3Z2ozWkEpv9XCzTc4a3qucx8wKlhE7iiGZfbu0HEDn4LD2MRAQiR_vXaXcCPSznZX7SmLPC3Yq0-6pX1EuGjrLw9Qu4PTBP9i6GHsDZ6-xPwNCG-GfH-q2K2fMuOG-YhS72KnLiarj87-oFJsuZ-Jv7en42Ieb30YTmlcG5mWUrI6oi1wqRoREJculAZsBF4MXuxPlCWUPVnwpZ09PyXviQ7kbvaWPN8wuFx8#lns=W251bGwsbnVsbCxudWxsLG51bGwsbnVsbCxudWxsLG51bGwsIkVrY0tKRGN3T0RFeE56STRMVEJrTURJdE5EaGhNaTA0WmpsbUxUa3pZamcyTVRZNVl6Sm1OaElmYjNkeExXRmFRbFU1ZVUxWFZVTm1hVWxtYTFwaVJFSTViUzFqVVRoNFp3PT0iXQ==. Accessed 6 May 2024.

"Https://Twitter.Com/DickKingSmith/Status/864367700335771648." X (Formerly Twitter), https://twitter.com/DickKingSmith/status/864367700335771648. Accessed 6 May 2024.

Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/unownedspaces/p/CuPRNAvswMu/?img_index=8. Accessed 6 May 2024.

National Geographic. Amazing Footage: Goats Climbing on a Near-Vertical Dam | National Geographic. 2016. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0jMzdbEui0.

Nature on PBS. Rock-Climbing Goats. 2015. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu8TJKMtmtI.

Our Team. https://awionline.org/content/our-team. Accessed 6 May 2024.

TikTok - Make Your Day. https://www.tiktok.com/@lindsaynikole/video/7069878175379000618. Accessed 6 May 2024.

Madison Dapcevich is a freelance contributor for Snopes.

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