The general portrayal in fiction that all goats are Type 2 Extreme Omnivores, able and willing to eat anything and everything. If anyone brings a goat into a story, there's a good chance that it will eat something important that it wasn't supposed to. This is normally Played for Laughs, but can also be used in more dramatic works where the goat's hunger causes serious, long-term problems for the characters.
Depending on the situation and the level of comic exaggeration, such a goat may go from simply being willing to eat technically edible things most people or animals would never begin to find palatable to being able to consume literally anything put in front of it, chowing down on steel girders and cinderblocks as if they were hay. An Extreme Omni-Goat is usually also able to consume preposterous volumes of food, often eating hundreds or thousands of times its own weight in produce, wood and/or industrial materials without any visible discomfort or losing any of its appetite. It's also common for fantastical goat-like creatures such as Fauns and Satyrs to have similar eating habits.
In general, their Trademark Favorite "Food" is generally accepted to be tin cans, or at least anything made out of metal (unless you are in Japan, in which case it's books and anything else made out of paper). This is a commonly believed myth in real life, coming from the fact that real-life goats will chew on tin cans in order to eat the paper and glue from the labels.
Not to be confused with Omniglot.
- McDonald's has an animated ad campaign featuring a goat who keeps eating everything around the farm. His concerned owners start feeding him Happy Meals so he can eat healthier, since they offer choices like apples and milk and whatnot. Unfortunately, he also eats the box.
- Bleach: Nel's Animal Motif is antelope and goat-antelope based. Her release is named after the chamois (a goat-antelope) and her centaur-form is a gemsbok (a true antelope). Her mask also has sheep horns (and sheep are goat-antelopes). In keeping with the fiction about goats (also a type of goat-antelope), she is also the only hollow we've ever seen eat ceros. She does it deliberately because her body is taking in her opponent's attack, mixing it with her own cero power, to regurgitate it back at her enemy as an attack much more powerful than either she or her enemy could perform alone. This also plays on the ruminant behaviour of goat-antelope and antelope digestion systems.
- Futakoi has Nozomu constantly suffering from a goat eating his homework...and no one believes him.
- Jewelpet Sunshine has Yaginuma, a student at Sunshine Academy. He eats tests and homework. This came in handy one time when he ate a Corrupt Corporate Executive's deed that would have made him the owner of the academy.
- Nichijou: Sasahara's goat Kojirou takes a bite out of one of Mio's drawings in episode 16. Big mistake.
- One Piece: Fleet Admiral Sengoku keeps a pet goat around, which spends its time disposing of his scrap paper.
- BoBoiBoy: Probe purchases the "Lawnmower S8000" for his boss Adu Du, but the lawnmower turns out to be a goat. Since their base doesn't even have grass, the goat is only good at eating wires around the base instead. In the goat's defense, it prefers the content of iron in them.
- Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf subverts the trope. Paddi the Funny Animal goat is a Big Eater who is Obsessed with Food, and in episode 7 of Joys of Seasons he goes as far as to try snacking on a tennis ball Weslie and Sparky were using. Paddi hates the taste of it.
- Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Scrooge McDuck once bought a goat to guard his money bin in the comics. Unfortunately it both guarded and ate the money, so Scrooge sold it back to the previous owner.
- In Cerebus the Aardvark, Lord Julius once had a goat as a candidate for Prime Minister of Iest. At one point the goat was chewing at the abbess of Good Abbeys burlap habit.
- Referenced in one Robert Crumb Mr. Natural comic. Crumb is telling a city-dweller about how he needs to go out and actually live life, recommending that he goes out to spend some time at a farm. After being convinced, the city-dweller asks Mr. Natural if goats really eat cans — and Mr. Natural immediately flies into a rage over the sheer absurdity of the question.
- Archie Comics has several examples:
- In one, Archie gets a pet goat (just roll with it) and takes it to Mr. Lodge's, where it eats the latter's prize roses. Duh.
- In another, as a way to make money quickly and and without doing any work, Jughead gets his pet goat (again...) to mow lawns. He lets the goat loose and it just starts chewing. Problem is, while it's grazing on grass it also eats Betty's flowers and Archie's recycling cans. Jug just brushes this off, until it decides to snack on his own portable TV set. Goodbye goat.
- Another Jughead strip has Jughead bring a goat to school. The goat proceeds to eat the students' homeworks, test papers, and finally a reporter's camera. Considering that the reporter is an obnoxious guy trying to write an unflattering article about the school, the Bee ends up rewarding the goat for foiling the reporter's attempts at journalism.
- A Les Pretend comic strip in The Beano features this where he pretends to be a policeman and tries making a goat his subordinate. During this they manage to scare a pizza delivery guy and the goat eats the pizza, angering Les because he is eating the "evidence". For that matter, pretty much any time a goat appears in The Beano, it'll be one of these.
- In Footrot Flats, Wal got a goat to eat the grass. It eats everything except the grass, and hates Wal. When it gets angry it usually takes Horse to bring it under control. Cooch's neighboring goat farm also causes difficulties.
- Redeye: There's a goat that feeds exclusively on metal, preferably tin cans.
- This Bites!: Merry, once she's taken human form. Given her Animal Motif and her nature as a Zoan ship, she can consume a lot of inorganic matter, and even drinks an entire barrel of hot pitch with no problem. Her favorite food is cloth.
- In Happy Endings Aberforth Dumbledore's goat eats his brother Albus' portrait.
- Kung Fu Panda 2: A Running Gag entails Soothsayer, a goat, taking bites out of Lord Shen's robes whenever she got a chance.
- On Hercules, Philocites, who is part goat, is seen eating pottery.
- In The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the Disney version), Djali the goat eats Quasimodo's figures, which are made out of wood.
- Babies: The trailer ends with a goat (implicitly, but not shown) eating a baby's feces.
- In the New Zealand-made film Boy (2010), the titular character's pet goat eats the money he hid in the old car in his backyard.
- Mrs. Doubtfire features an early scene where the main character allows his son to have a wild birthday party, complete with a petting zoo. A goat ends up eating the mother's flowers, much to her chagrin.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: In Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Grover the satyr casually chews apart an aluminum soda can in one scene.
- Two goats are feeding in a dumpster when one eats a film roll. "How's that?" the other goat asks. "Not bad," says the first one, "but the book was better."
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Grover is actually a satyr, but half-goat surely counts, and he certainly eats everything from tin cans to enchiladas.
- An early The Railway Series story, "Edward, Gordon, and Henry" features The Fat Controller leaning out of a window, causing his hat to blow off his head, where a goat eats it for tea. This was also adapted into an episode of the Animated Adaptation, Thomas & Friends.
- In one of the Little Eddie books by Carolyn Haywood, Eddie gets a goat, which his father eventually makes him take to their cousins who live on a ranch in Texas because the goat eats everything.
- There's a children's book called Gregory, the Terrible Eater, written by Mitchell Sharmat and illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. It's about a goat whose parents are very concerned — he doesn't want to eat normal things like cans and boxes, he wants these bizarre concoctions, like scrambled eggs, tacos, and peanut butter sandwiches. They eventually start him on a regimen that centers around compromise — they'll let him eat what he wants (e.g., some peas) if he also eats what they think he should (e.g., the can); they realize it's worked too well when he starts noshing on Dad's ties and Mom's sewing kit, and have to tell him to scale it back a bit.
- The Pet Goat, part of the "Reading Mastery" series for elementary schoolchildren, features an extreme omnigoat who accidentally becomes a hero after attacking a car thief. The book gained attention after being read by George W. Bush to an elementary school class in Florida—he was reading the book to the students when he was notified of the September 11 attacks, and infamously decided to stay and finish reading the book.
- The Hunger Games makes the point that goats' tendency to convert any old random forage into four quarts of milk a day means that ownership of one "can change a person's life" in areas of food scarcity. Very much Truth in Television.
- In one of the Myth Adventures novels, Skeeve disguises his pet dragon Gleep as a goat to avoid intimidating the local Klahds. He chooses this form specifically because Gleep is an Extreme Omnivore and it'll arouse less suspicion if a goat starts nibbling on, say, a wagon wheel than if some other domestic animal does so.
- Small Gods mentions how the great desert had once been verdant woodland until its inhabitants allowed the goats to graze everywhere. Nothing makes a desert like a goat.
- Brown's Pine Ridge Stories: The goats owned by a roaming goat herder had a habit of consuming everything in their path, which is compared to a cloud of locusts. They were particularly noted to chew the bark off of young pine trees.
- In The Roaring Trumpet, the first Harold Shea novella, one of Thor's goats rips a chunk out of Shea's coat and eats it. According to Thjalfi, the goats also once ate a pile of human corpses, all of them except their belt-buckles. Probably justified in that these are after all Thor's goats, not ordinary farm animals.
- Hank the Cowdog: The story The Case of the Dancing Cowboy (which was originally serialized in newspapers and later released via audio, but not in a printed form) has Drover mentioning how he once knew a goat who "ate tin cans and ketchup bottles''. (And rose bushes.) Hank doesn't believe a word of it.
- Monster of the Month Club: Book 1 mentions that the B&B's original lawnmower was a goat named Nancy, but she had to relocate to a farm outside of town after escaping and eating things in other peoples' yards (along with making one family move because of her odor).
- In Orwell's Animal Farm. Muriel the goat learned to read and would sometimes read newspapers, and eat them when she was done.
- James Herriot's All Things Bright and Beautiful describes how Herriot had to treat a goat who'd eaten a pair of her owner's summer underwear some time back (and when her owner realizes what they are, he cracks up laughing). Apparently, the elastic got caught on her tongue and she couldn't eat anything else until Herriot removed them from her throat. Her owner thinks it would have killed her if she'd swallowed them all the way, but Herriot says it might not have, recounting a case of an extreme omni-cow, which had had a tire in its stomach for quite some time with no problem.
- M*A*S*H: One episode involves the entire payroll being eaten by a goat (which had been bought by Klinger on the grounds of it being economically sound—he could, after all, get fresh milk from it). This causes numerous problems for the unit, as they must convince superiors that they lost their money because a goat ate it, and one character had taken a loan from another at a ludicrous interest rate on the assumption that he would be able to pay it back pretty much the next day. An inspector investigates the claim, and does not believe it. However, the staff arrange for the goat to get access to some very important paperwork the inspector is working on, and she promptly eats it as expected. Now, faced with the same story to tell his superiors about the paperwork, the inspector is forced to accept the payroll loss claim.
- The Andy Griffith Show episode "The Loaded Goat" has the title critter endangering the town of Mayberry after consuming a crateful of dynamite sticks. Though since dynamite doesn't explode easily, it was doubtful that the town was ever in any danger.
- In How I Met Your Mother, Ted spends most of an episode trying to keep a goat from eating Robin's towels.
- In Mahou Sentai Magiranger, the stomachs of two celestial goats form an inter-dimensional mail delivery system—one is fed a letter, which the other will cough up no matter where it is.
- Sesame Street;
- An old animation features a song about the letter "O" and words containing it. At one point we see a goat "eating a bowl of bones, potatoes, and soap"... followed by the bowl itself.
- Another song had animals continuously coming and eating the singer's food, ending on a goat who ate the only things left: a pair of sneakers, and also taking the bowl they were sitting in. Following complaints by the Dairy Goats Association of America, later showings were followed by a sketch of a goat Muppet emphatically saying how she would not eat sneakers, but only healthy food that would help produce good milk — though a second goat had no such compunctions, since she wasn't a dairy goat.
- An episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch had Sabrina calling in a guy with a bunch of goats to get rid of (read: eat) a bunch of magical poppies.
- An episode of That's So Raven has Raven harboring a goat in her house that eats her cellphone (among many other things).
- On an episode of Jeopardy!, a contestant revealed in her interview that she had a pet goat who ate, among other things, a three-wick candle and then a bag of quick-drying concrete which ended up killing it. When host Alex Trebek asked whether it was a 40- or 80-pound bag, she snarked "You're being insensitive!" which drove Trebek into a fit of laughter.
- The song "Paddy McGinty's Goat", though his preference was largely for clothing, especially the back of people's outfits.
- The Indonesia folk song "Chan Mali Chan" has the narrator looking for his lost goat, who is seen eating taro leaves.
- The Japanese children's song "Goat Mail" (やぎさんゆうびん Yagi-san Yuubin) is about a black goat and a white goat who send letters to each other, but keep eating the letters before having a chance to read them.
- "Bagpipesong" by Dr. Macdoo (Jonny Jakobsen) is about a goat eating his bagpipe and mayhem ensuing when the goat gets scared of the sounds coming from it's stomach.
Bagpipe, bagpipe where have you gone
missing the sound of my bagpipe song
Bagpipe, bagpipe playing a note
Down from the throat of a stupid goat
- They Might Be Giants: In the official video for "The Mesopotamians", a goat eats the bobblehead figure of Gilgamesh.
- The kids' song "My Highland Goat" (known in some versions as "Bill Grogan's Goat") starts when the eponymous goat eats three red shirts off a washing line. In retaliation, its angry owner (or one of their relatives) tries to kill it via chaining it to a railroad track.
- "Mary Had a William Goat":
One day it ate an oyster can,
Oyster can, oyster can.
One day it ate an oyster can
And a clothesline full of shirts.
- Fun Magic: The Gathering fact: The Big Eater Atog creature type was based on the extreme omnivore trait of goats. In fact, "Atog" is an anagram for "Goat". Atogs eat various things in order to "power up", including artifacts (ex. Atog, the original), enchantments (Ex. Auratog), lands (Ex. Lithatog), the dead (Ex. Necrotog), time (Ex. Chronatog), and even other Atogs (Ex. Atogatog). There is very little in the game that some form of Atog doesn't eat.
- In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, there is a creature in one of the races' army that basically goes around recycling waste material to make more units. Its description basically amounts to "a omnivorous space goat" making this Goats...IN SPACE!
- In Wicked, Elphaba offers to share her lunch with Dr. Dillamond, a goat. He eats the paper bag it came in.
- In Broken Sword 2 there are several inventory items that serve no purpose other than occasionally eliciting funny responses when you discuss them with other characters. If you try to show your Lucky Piece of Coal to the goat in Quaramonte, it eats it.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Mr. Write's penpal is Christine, a goat living in Animal Village. She eats the letters that Mr. Write sends her.
- Completing a run-through of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater having eaten at least one sample of every edible substance earns the player the codename "Markhor", which is a type of goat (that the player can encounter, and, yes, eat at one point).
- The Monster Journal in Monster Sanctuary speculates that Targoats are descended from ordinary goats who ate nothing but metal.
- In Pokémon X and Y, restaurant Le Wow has a Skiddo come out with a note in its mouth, which the game says it appears to be eating.
- Absa from the Rivals of Aether universe doesn't eat anything in her playable appearance, but eating things that aren't supposed to be eaten is a borderline addiction of hers in the spin-off, Lovers of Aether. This includes her own homework.
- Although Bug Martini doesn't show the goat eating something, goats' propensity for eating anything is used in this comic.
- In Wizard School Graham's familiar Goatsie is interested in eating everything from sheets to loafers to stripper heels.
- In Doc Rat, the goat tells her kid not to eat tin cans, and the kid grumbles because comic ones do eat them.
- In Lessa, the titular character, back when he was a goat, would frequently eat through everything, including people's beloved flowers and papyrus. While it's usually Played for Laughs, one character does actually hate him for it.
- The LiveJournal mascot is Frank the Goat, who is often blamed for "eating" posts and comments. It's even mentioned in site-wide crashes and glitches: "Error: Looks like Frank's nibbling on the wires again..."
- The SCP Foundation has SCP-2282, simply known as Goat. 2282's digestive tract is a winding, non-Euclidean mess with over 8000 separate stomachs and it eats by incorporating the space around whatever it's eating into its digestive system, resulting in over 17000 meters of innards with a weight of around 16 million kilograms being compressed into a goat-sized, 89 kg package that can eat just about anything from glue sticks to giraffes (as in, the whole thing).
- In The Hungry Goat (1943), the eponymous goat seems to actually prefer metal, cans or otherwise. Of course, this causes no end of trouble for our hero, whose Navy ship the goat decides to eat. The single, rather small goat simply boards the ship and rapidly consumes anything he can get his teeth on, including an enormous length of chain that just vanishes into negative space.
- In the Hanna-Barbera short "Getting Popeye's Goat", the Navy goat that Popeye takes into Olive's house eats such things as Olive's cosmetics and a functioning radio. The radio can still be heard after the goat eats it, making Popeye and Olive think a burglar has broken into the house and is about to shoot them.
- In "Steamboat Willie", a goat eats Minnie's ukulele and sheet music. So Mickey uses it as a living phonograph.
- In fact, this gag was actually a carryover from an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon, "Rival Romeos".
- The wartime Looney Tunes cartoon "Scrap Happy Daffy" had old-school Daffy Duck trying to build up a scrap heap for the war effort and matching wits with a Nazi goat who tried to eat it all.
- As usual, Tex Avery takes this trope and goes to town with it in the MGM cartoon "Billy Boy", about a goat that literally eats a farmer out of house and home. The cartoon ends with Billy being flown to the moon...which he then eats.
- Dexter's Laboratory: A Justice Friends short has a goat eating Valhallen's guitar.
- Gompers in Gravity Falls has chewed on Mabel's sweater, Stan's fez, license plates, and other random things. In "Weirdmageddon Part 1", as a giant, he even chomps on a prison wall!
- The Simpsons:
- Averted when the family goes to a petting zoo. Homer tries to get a goat to eat a tin can and it won't do it.
- Then there's the two-headed crime-solving goat. One head eats tin cans and the other eats health food.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Putting Your Hoof Down", the goats accompanying Iron Will are shown munching on Pinkie's tail and each others' ties while Iron Will is trying to collect payment from Fluttershy. In "Once Upon a Zeppelin", when Iron Will and a goat are relaxing with drinks held in hollowed-out pineapples, the goat takes a large bite from the fruit rind once it's finished the drink.
- Futurama: In "Mars University", the goat outside the Financial Aid dormitory eats the sign that falls off the building.
- The Garfield Show: Subverted in an episode where Garfield gives a goat a tin can so it could lick the glue off it, only for the goat to think he's trying to feed it the can and attack him.
- In Wander over Yonder, we have a tribe of warrior goat-people who are fiercely protective of their food supply, which is... everything but the kitchen sink.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Non-goat example — in one episode, SpongeBob is forced to release his new seahorse, Mystery, back into the world on Mr. Krab's orders after it eats the krabby patties, spatula, grill, and even an old man (although he spits him out afterwards). Moments afterwards, Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob discover that Mystery ate all the money in the safe and chase after it calling its name, right before the episode ends.
- Shaun the Sheep had the appropriately-named Mower Mouth who chowed down on evry inch of grass within his reach, old car tyres, bricks, and even fearlessly drank from the toilet!
- In addition to the adaptation of "Edward, Gordon and Henry" (see the Literature section), Thomas & Friends also gives us the episode, "Baa!", where Percy encounters a mischievous and constantly hungry ram. When Percy and his crew first found Maithwaite station to be a mess, Percy's driver and the passengers immediately assume that the ram had come to make a meal of the station. While the ram was there, however, he was not the one responsible. It was some mischievous boys, whom the ram had taken hostage in the station's waiting room. Thus, Maithwaite Station wins the Best Dressed Station competition, and Sir Topham Hatt presents a pumpkin to a farmer for the noble ram, and says, "And I'll eat my hat if you don't like it." When Harold lands, the wind from his propellers blows Sir Topham Hatt's hat off his head, right in the ram's reach, where the ram promptly eats it.
Sir Topham Hatt: Well, seems I wouldn't be able to eat my hat even if I had to.
- In a radio play of the German TV puppet series Das Sandmännchen, one story revolved around a boy getting a goat named Erna who loves paper and turns it into confetti on the other end.
- Let's Go Luna!: The goat from "Mukandi's Farm", who obviously likes to eat anything, even cellphones.
- In the PAW Patrol episode "Pups Save Ryder", Farmer Yumi's goat Garbie eats Ryder's Pup-Pad, a smartphone-esque wireless device.
- Truth in Television, within limits. Goats in fact aren't natural omnivores, but herbivores. Their fame comes from their tendency to still try regardless.
- Goats eat roses — a plant that evolved thorns specifically to avoid being eaten by anything too big to fit between them. To try and stop them, somebody bred roses that supposedly tasted so horrible the goats wouldn't eat them. The goats ate them anyway.
- At petting zoos where you can feed the animals, they sometimes hand out little Dixie cups full of feed. Some goats, when offered, eat the whole thing — cup and all. It is imperative that you keep the feed away from your shoulder-bag. Especially if you have some important documents in them.
- In Real Life, goats are the only animal that can eat poison ivy with no ill effects.
- They'll also eat shoelaces, as petting zoo experience can attest.
- They also might be the only creatures that can keep Himalayan blackberries under control. Along with being used by some tea farmers to eat all the weeds as they don't eat the tea leaves.
- In the US Deep South, goats are one of the few methods that have proven effective at battling the invasive kudzu vine.
- In fact, some goat breeders make a living out of renting their goats to fields experiencing outbreaks of noxious weeds. The goats are the safest and most efficient way to clear the fields, and the goats get fed. Win/win!
- By the same token, some have started a program to distribute goats to the world's rural poor. Goats are great for this purpose for several reasons:
- They cost relatively little to maintain, on account of their aforementioned ability to eat anything of plausibly-vegetable origin.
- They produce wool and milk while alive and can be slaughtered for meat when they get too old. All three of these can either be consumed by the owner or sold at market.
- They're livestock, so getting more of them and thus creating a sustainable business isn't much of an issue.
- Unfortunately, this tendency to eat any available vegetation also makes them a fairly invasive species themselves. They were particularly bad on a few of the Galapagos Islands, where they consumed a lot of the plants and out-competed the native giant tortoises. Despite being one of the earliest domesticated animals, they routinely turn feral when left to their own devices. This was actually exploited by sailors, who dropped off herds of goats on islands like the Galapagos so that they could run wild and serve as a source of fresh meat for ships that passed by.
- Goats aren't the only cloven-hoofed animals that fulfill the Big Eater type.
- The capital city of Nara prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan have tame deer who live to eat and are not fussy about anything. Anything offered (and not offered) by tourists they eagerly gulp down, including deer biscuits, clothes, and map directions. One unusual case involved a deer gnawing on the iron chains separating the lawns and temple's approach, which it then taught to the other deer. The people weren't too mad, though; the deer just needed more iron in their diet.
- While they're less famous for it, cattle are also known for eating random detritus, including scrap metal that gets left around farms. This can have health consequences if it ends up damaging their internal organs, a problem so common that veterinarians have dubbed it "hardware disease".
- Meet Biquette, a French goat who drank alcohol, ate cigarette butts, paint, and oil, and hung out at grindcore concerts. It helped that the concerts were at the farm where she was raised.