Tuesday, January 26, 2016

RASTA and the Goat(s) of Many Colours

The two new goats at RASTA, who have been named Simon and Garfunkel, are colourful little guys. Simon has reddish-brown and white hair, and Garfunkel has - well - a funky reddish streak in his otherwise black hair.  I know people who pay big bucks to get their hair streaked like that!



When I uploaded the photos I took last week, I saw something else that was colourful - their eyes, especially Simon's eyes.

Eye shade changes in every shot

I did a little research and discovered that the pupils of goats' eyes are rectangular to give great peripheral vision as a safeguard against predators, and also good frontal vision for fleeing from harm. You can easily see the rectangular pupil in this photo:

Rectangular pupils

This rectangular pupil, however, also helps account for a diversity of colours when photographed.  As rectangular pupils tend to be wider than circular pupils, they catch the flash of the camera differently. As well, animals like goats have something called a tapetal layer behind the retina, which helps them see in the dark.   Shining a light (such as the flash of a camera) into these eyes creates 'eyeshine', a brightness which often shows as two glowing alien-looking orbs in amateur animal photography. Since eyeshine is a type of iridescence, it varies with the angle of the camera - and a wider rectangular pupil provides more angles. Furthermore, since the colour of the tapetal layer varies by the animal's coat colour, a more colourful or multi-coloured animal may reflect more variations in eyeshine than a more solid, less colourful animal.  As Simon is more 'patchy' and colourful in coat, I conclude this is why his eye colours are so varied in the photos.

Ol' Blue Eyes

At least that's how I understand the mind-boggling photo-babble I found from my somewhat brief google search. So...let's move on to other activities at the sanctuary.  Like feeding time, 'cuz that's always fun:

We began by feeding the senior pigs in their pen, but invited Tango, Romeo and Toby to join them.

Age has its privilege

Line forms here! 

Trying to move from the senior pigs' pen to the younger pigs' pen can be a challenge when you are lugging a wagon of food through the mud and have some greedy hungry equines trying to help, not to mention a very large steer making sure we knew he was hungry too.

Hey, there's still food in here!

Don't forget me - I need some too! 

Once into the younger pigs' pen, we decided to move right through to the higher dryer ground of the goats' pen and invite the younger pigs to follow us.  They didn't need to be asked twice:

Follow that wagon! 

The goats didn't mind - there was plenty for everyone and they just turned their backs on the piggy herd as they tasted their veggies and fruits:

Carrot scramble!  

Carrots, yum!

Hey, you gonna eat that piece of apple?

Aw, c'mon, share! 
Server!  More apples and carrots here please! 

Over near the barn, Sergio the goose made a ruckus just to remind us that he and Sarah and Splash might like a treat or too as well - some grain, perhaps, might make a tasty snack.

I dunno why they always treat the pigs first! 

One last round with treats for Theo and a few more for Tango, Romeo and Toby, and party time was over.

That's all folks! 

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