Do Moroccan Goats Fly?

We all know pigs can fly. But goats?

Argan trees only grow in Morocco. Morocco also has lots of goats. Have some goats evolved the ability to fly? You might wonder that when you see a tree filled with them along the road between Essaouira and Marrakech. Seeing this unusual sight was one of the things I had to do in Morocco.

Kidding aside, goats of course don’t fly. The usual story is that they climb into them. Exactly how they do that isn’t clear. In fact, you might become skeptical when you see acres and acres of argan trees in southwestern Morocco, not a single one hosting a goat, except for the lone tree filled with them along the roadside. Why that tree and not another?

There’s no question that it’s a great tourist attraction. So is that it? A busload of tourists were gathered around the tree when I approached. A young man was encouraging them to take photos, pick up a 10-day old kid—in exchange for a few coins. There are stories on the internet that the tree-borne goats consume the nuts of the trees. Whether they excrete or expectorate them is a matter of dispute, but the former definitely has the yuck factor that captivates people, especially if the oil from the argan nut is going to be used on your face or in your cooking.

The goats’ chewing away the fruit pulp supposedly does the hard part of processing the nut, but doing this on a wide scale obviously doesn’t happen. It’s much more common for men to pick the nuts by hand and women, typically in co-ops, to process the nut to make the acclaimed cosmetic and culinary products. Still, tourists love this stuff. Is it a coincidence then that a lone tree that happens to be close to the highway is teeming with goats, none of whom seem to be chewing anything?

Goats can’t take flight but your fancy can.


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