Best of the Blog: Free Climbing Naturists

Editor’s Note: This post by Chris Dolley from 2010 would be equally at home in our critter picture series that runs on Wednesdays.

Here’s a picture of the Cingino dam in Italy. The dam wall is 160 feet high and not that far off vertical. Would you climb it? Without ropes, climbing shoes or … clothes.

What, naked free climbers? Extreme sport naturists? Italians?

Take a closer look at the picture and you’ll see the dam wall is dotted with climbers – eighteen of them. And they do it every day. Not ‘because it’s there’ but for the love of lichens. And a little moss and salt. They’re Alpine ibex goats.

Animal behaviourists, though, are beginning to suspect that food may not be the only reason for the goats’ love of extreme mountain climbing. There has been an unprecedented increase in daredevil goat behaviour this last decade. Some say it’s because of global warming. Or human encroachment upon their natural mountain habitat – forcing the goats into the edges of towns and cities where they can free climb on houses and tower blocks.

Others blame it on the rise of reality TV and the cult of celebrity, suggesting that more and more young goats are having their heads turned by the promise of fame and endless supply of lichens. It’s been noticed that some goats will do anything to be photographed.

 

 

 

And it’s a worldwide phenomenon. In Morocco, they’ve taken to climbing trees for the tourists.

If you thought caterpillars were the worst pest you could find in your prize fruit tree, think again.

 

 

 

 

 

So next time you’re out for a walk, take a closer look in the trees and on the buildings around you. That distant speck might not be a bird. It might be SpiderGoat.

Send for the kitties!

Chris Dolley writes a number of things, most of them very funny.

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