We often think of goats as lazy, hay-munching staples of pasturelands and petting zoos, and while we may be used to seeing them on the ground, these animals actually love heights.

In Morocco, goats are known to climb Argan trees in search of food, and in Italy, Alpine ibex have reputations as gravity-defying creatures that scale the near-vertical rock face of a dam.

Fairview Goat TowerPerhaps it was these goats that inspired Fernando Guedes da Silva da Fonseca to build the world’s first "goat tower" during the 19th century.

He constructed his "torras das cabras" on his winery property in Portugal, but it wasn't until 1981 that the world’s second goat tower came to be.

When Charles Back brought his Saanen goats to his Fairview Cheese and Wine Farm in South Africa, he worried the animals would miss the vertical aspect of their natural habitat, so he built them a multistory tower with a spiraling wooden ramp.

The goat tower (at right) is now one of the most recognizable aspects of the winery's brand.

Since then, several other people have constructed their own goat towers.

There's the Tower of Baa in Findlay, Illinois, which is 31 feet tall, 7 feet in diameter and made from 5,000 hand-sculpted bricks.

Norway is home to a tower built from the same plans Charles Back used, and it’s now featured prominently on the Ekeby Farm's marketing materials.

And in Memphis, Tennessee, Silky O’Sullivan’s bar has a goat tower that’s enjoyed by patrons just as much as by the goats. The barnyard animals have even been known to engage in the occasional beer.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

Goats defy gravity with beautiful man-made towers
Goats show off their natural climbing abilities in these striking towers with spiraling ramps.