GOATS, SHEEP, AND HOW THEY LIVE by Marie M. Jenkins

GOATS, SHEEP, AND HOW THEY LIVE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An excellent overview of the caprine subfamily of horned ungulates--which includes all the goats and sheep, some animals such as the Himalayan tahr which fall somewhere in between, the more primitive goat-antelope (the capricorn of astrology), the odd takin, an ice age ""leftover"" with no extant close relations, the endangered arctic musk ox, and other ""strange relatives."" After a succinct review of the group's evolutionary background and a clarifying look at their distinctive features, Jenkins proceeds by species and subspecies, noting the mating and herd behavior and the special features, talents (i.e., the remarkable surefootedness of the Rocky Mountain bighorn, the ibex, and others), and uses of each. ""Gifts of the goat"" include their ""magic"" milk (99% of human babies allergic to cow's milk thrive on goats', and it takes only 20 minutes instead of almost two hours to digest), their silky hair (made into cashmere and mohair), and recently, their contribution, as subjects, to sleep research; the well-known products derived from ""the meekest animals,"" domestic sheep, are also surveyed in the context of the industry. Jenkins' interesting descriptions of the various wild sheep and goats are marked as well by her informed conservationist approach. She notes the effects of man's dislocation of species, suggests that trophy hunters substitute photos for mounted heads, points out the errors in protecting the proliferating Death Valley burros at the expense of the native bighorn, and ends with a sensible presentation of the very difficult coyote question. Solid, readable, well organized.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1978
Publisher: Holiday House