Why goats have become the darlings of the internet

Why goats have become the darlings of the internet

Why goats have become the darlings of the internet

Updated 22 August 2017, 18:25 AEST

Goats inspired goat yoga, viral mashup videos and Instagram accounts boasting hundreds of thousands of followers, and they look adorable in jumpers.

Goats have become hugely popular online, inspiring goat yoga, mashup videos and Instagram accounts boasting hundreds of thousands of followers.

There was Frostie the baby goat who learned to walk with a wheelchair, and pregnant goat Khaleesi, who gave birth to quadruplets.

There is even Thomas Thwaites, the man who gave up on being human in favour of being a goat, later detailing his experience in his book GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human.

In 2014 an entire computer game, Goat Simulator, was built on the premise of playing a goat.

From the game's April 2014 release until January 2015, more than 2.5 million copies of the game were sold worldwide.

From bleating goats to singing goats to goats having a crisis, the curious creatures have gained the attention of internet users.

One Victorian goat farmer said the animals were deserving of the attention.

"Super intelligent, they can find the smallest hole to get out of and you'll go up and down that fence line looking for that hole, and until you actually see it go back through, you'd never find it," Taylan Atar said.

Mr Atar owns Seven Hills Tallarook, a farm with 250 goats spread over 242 hectares in central Victoria.

He said to the untrained eye the goats might be hard to tell apart, but each one was unique.

"They're all individual, they all have personalities. To me, they all look different. You probably think I'm crazy, but we can tell them all apart," he said.

A special goat called Bull

One goat stands out, helping Mr Atar herd goats and llamas back to the paddock, then demanding a scratch for a job well done. The goat's name is Bull.

"We call him Bull because he's got horns like a bull," Mr Atar explained.

"He's probably the most famous goat in Australia. He's appeared on TV shows, he's appeared on Getaway, he's appeared on Meet The Butcher.

"He's just a really nice pet. He'll come to you when you call him."

As well as being good company, the goats serve a practical purpose on Mr Atar's farm.

They have reduced the spread of an especially invasive local bush, called china bush, to make his farm what it is now.

"One of the main reasons why we introduced the goats [was] to help reduce the foliage and the scrub," he said.

"As you can see, we've cleared out nearly 300 acres and it's all prime quality land now.

"None of this grass that you can see has been planted or seeded, it's all just natural input back from the goats."

Online goat searches growing

According to Google Trends data, searches for "goat" have grown steadily since January 2013.

Australia was the eighth most likely country to search for "goat", behind New Zealand and the United States, with Jamaica taking out the top spot.

Mr Atar said the popularity of goats was unsurprising.

"It's not bizarre, they're an amusing little creature. They all have their own individual personalities and they love to interact with people," he said.

"They're very curious and very spontaneous."

Mr Atar said such curious personalities needed to be kept entertained.

"We know of growers that have toys out in the paddock for the animals to play with — old washing machine drums that they roll around, or balls that they push along the ground all day," he said.

"The more activities you can give them and the happier they are, the better they grow."