An incredibly rare and cute animal was just born in County Kildare, Ireland — a goat-sheep hybrid, otherwise known as a "shoat." Or better yet, a "geep."
This thing happened more or less how you'd expect.
Five months ago, Irish sheep farmer Paddy Murphy noticed a rascally goat mating with the Chevriot sheep on his farm during “tupping” season. He thought nothing of it until two weeks ago, when one of his ewes dropped an unusual lamb.
Instead of being short, white and sheepish, it was long-legged, brown and goatish.
“It had all the hallmarks of a goat," a tickled Murphy told the Irish Farmers Journal. "He looks like a goat, trapped in a lamb’s body. ... He even has horns like a goat and he is very quick on his feet.”
Wait, how quick?
"He's unbelievable," says Murphy. "He's so fast, you'd have to get him into the pen to catch him. There's no chance you would catch him otherwise." Cue amazing images of a farmer chasing a baby geep.
The Kildare geep prances with its mom, an ordinary Chevriot sheep. (Irish Farmers Journal via YouTube)
Murphy, whose family have been sheep farmers for several generations, has never seen anything like it before.
In fact it’s the only goat-sheep hybrid in Ireland, the Ulster Farmers Union confirmed with the BBC. The Irish Times explains why the cross-breed is so rare:
“Sheep have 54 chromosomes while goats have 60. Matings do occur, but the offspring is usually stillborn. The most famous case happened in Botswana [in 2000] when a female goat and a ram mated. Scientists found that the offspring had 57 chromosomes and it became known as the Toast of Botswana.”
We're glad to report the Toast of Kildare is perfectly healthy and frisky. “The ewe has taken to him like he’s just another lamb,” the farmer told RTE. “There’s no difference in how he’s been reared.”
The fuzzy geep has also been well-received locally. “He has been a great source of craic for the lads in the pub,” said Murphy, who owns a pub in Ballymore Eustace. “We might even have a competition to name him.”
Here's an interview of Murphy while the geep wiggles adorably in his arms: