The Ultimate Fainting Goat Quiz


By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

The name fainting goat may seem a bit weird, but it's not some kind of animal joke. Take this quiz to learn more about the goats that faint.

Why do these particular goats faint?

They suffer from a medical condition called myotonia congenita.


What is myotonia congenita?

The muscles tense up when the goat is startled and don't immediately relax -- in many cases they topple over.


What happens as the goats grow older?

With the passage of time the goats seem to be able to adapt better and fall over less.


Technically how does myotonia congenita work?

In a normal goat, when danger signals are relayed to the brain, it sends an electric signal known as the fight or flight response. Immediately afterwards the muscles are ordered to relax and the goat will run or stay and fight. With the myotonic goat, the relax signal doesn't get to the muscles for 10 to 20 seconds.


What gene is affected by myotonia congenita?

The gene affected is Chloride Channel 1.


What does this gene do?

This gene is part of the process that produces and controls proteins vital to flexing and relaxing skeletal muscles.


What relays brain's message for muscles to contract?

Positively charged sodium ions relay the contracting message.


What relays the relaxing message?

Negatively charged chloride ions carry the message to relax.


How does myotonia congenita mess up the process?

In simple terms it causes an imbalance between the contacting and relaxing orders, causing the muscles to remain tensed for longer than usual.


How much pain does the goat experience during a "fainting" episode.

Apparently they don't feel pain during these spells.


What does the Humane Society have to say about selective breeding of fainting goats?

They are more concerned about breeding issues in other areas, since no pain is associated with the fainting.


Is myotonia contagious?

Actually it is hereditary.


How well does the fainting goat survive in nature?

Not really well, since a fainting goat attacked by a predator would be an easy kill. These goats exist only because they are bred for different purposes.


What is unnatural selection?

This is when human breeders intervene to protect weaker animals and ensure their survival in distinct contrast to natural selection in which the strongest survive.


When did the myotonia congenita begin to emerge as a distinct breed?

The beginning can be traced back to the 1880s in Tennessee.


Why would a farmer raise a herd of fainting goats?

Regular goats are accomplished escape artists and are difficult to keep penned in. The symptoms of the myotonia congenita can cause them to faint when they jump or attempt to climb.


Can the fainting goat be used for meat in light of the excessive muscular tensing?

Actually this tendency results in less body fat and a higher meat-to-bone ratio than other goats, making them a good choice.


Why were fainting goats used at one time to accompany herds of sheep?

If the herd were attacked, the fainting goat would fall, becoming an easy kill for the attacker, while the rest of the herd escaped.


What other purpose do fainting goats serve?

Because of their unusual trait they are also bred for amusement.


How many myotonia congenita goats are there in the United States?

The estimates range from 3,000 to 5,000.


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