Can Goats Eat Cactus

In desert regions of the world, prickly pear cacti (Opuntia species) are a valuable natural resource. It is adaptable to poor soils and little water availability.

The Details

Prickly pear cacti have historically been utilized as food, medicine, and fodder. Goats may eat prickly pear cactus, however this is sporadic and depends on the history of the region as well as the prickly pear’s abundance.

In rare cases, goats may receive more than 35% of their daily needs for crude protein from prickly pears.

Do untamed goats consume cacti?

In extreme situations, the prickly pear cactus may account for up to 80% of the goats’ food and all of their moisture intake. Goats chew at the plant’s base until it dies, at which point they devour it without suffering any lip or tongue damage.

For goats, are prickly pears safe?

When a liking for prickly pear has developed, goats may continue to eat it even when alternative forage is available because it is more digestible than spined prickly pear.

Are animals able to eat cacti?

There are numerous species that consume cacti. Among them are woodrats, camels, birds, iguanas, tortoises, beetles, and jackrabbits, among others. Cacti are consumed by people as well. Such animals have evolved specific defenses to prevent injury from thorns and toxicity from cacti poisons.

The majority have evolved behavioral, anatomical, and physiobiological defenses against the deleterious effects of cactus use.


Prickly pear cacti and jumping Chollas are enjoyable to camels (have extremely sharp barb and spines). They adore the pads and spines of cacti. They can practically digest any tough fibrous plant because they are ruminants.

They attempt to avoid the spines when they eat so they may enjoy the delectable insides. Their prehensile, sensitive top lips are present (split into two haves). Camel upper lips are manipulated, acting as a sense of touch.

Their leathery, thick lips prevent them from experiencing the cactus’ discomfort. To help them cope with the pain of cactus pricks, they also have fragments of skin inside their mouths.

Camel eating the spiky vegetation might occasionally be harmful. To enjoy the plant’s green sections, they do suffer the agony.


They are often referred to as wood rats or trade rats. Packrats have huge ears, long tails, and large, black eyes, although they otherwise resemble rats. Although they adore eating the flesh of cacti, they always take care to avoid the spines.


Large-eared jackrabbits consume the base of cacti because they find this area to be juicy. They choose out areas with fewer or no spines to eat. In addition to eating fruit, jackrabbits also spread the seeds through their excrement.


They are also known as collared peccaries. Their long, pointed fangs stick out from their mouths. Javelinas mostly inhabit oak woodlands, desert washes, and saguaro and Palo Verde forests.

All varieties of cactus that can be found nearby are consumed by these creatures. They prefer to consume the spines of the desert prickly pear cactus as their major source of food.

Ground squirrel

One of the rodent family members is the ground squirrel. They don’t reside in trees; they live on the grounds. These squirrels range in color from tawny, gray, reddish, pale brown, to olive, or dark brown, and are more active throughout the day. They enjoy eating the cactus’ seeds and fruits, but they stay away from the spiky parts.

Prairie dogs

These rodents are herbivorous burrowers. White-tailed, black-tailed, Utah, Gunnison’s, and Mexican prairie dogs are the five species that make up this group. They turn to cactus as a source of food when they are out of options. They often eat the cactus’ base, blooms, and fruits.

Gila Woodpecker

They enjoy eating cactus fruits just as much as they enjoy devouring insects. The thorns are avoided by Gila woodpeckers. When building their nest or obtaining food, they use their pointed beaks to create cavities in the saguaro cactus. They have room and a good environment to grow their young in thanks to the saguaro cactus.

Eastern Cotton Tail

The rabbits of New World cottontails are called Eastern Cotton Tails. They resemble jackrabbits more. They enjoy eating the fruits and the cactus’ base. They contribute to the spread of seeds by their feces.

Galapagos Land Iguana

Because it is well adapted, this animal can consume the entire cactus. Its strong digestive system prevents it from experiencing any negative effects from ingesting the cactus spines. It removes larger thorns using the pad on its front paws before opting to take a few swallows of the cactus.

Do sheep consume cacti?

with less cactus being used in the spring. According to our research, bighorn sheep will seek out surface water when it is accessible, but they can get by without it during the warmest and driest months by supplementing their water needs by eating barrel cacti. those bighorn sheep that eat them.

In the desert, is it okay to eat cacti?

There are several edible portions of the prickly pear cactus. The plant’s pads, often referred to as nopales, can be boiled and eaten as a vegetable side dish or put in a salad. The prickly pear fruit’s crimson flesh is incredibly tasty and can be consumed either fresh or cooked (do not eat the skin as it is filled with tiny thorns). Prickly pear fruit syrup is frequently employed as a flavour in candies, lemonade, and margaritas.

Cacti can horses eat them?

The Southwest desert is enticing, especially in the spring when endless pathways lead you through breathtaking blue skies, wildflowers, and panoramic views.

However, dangers are concealed behind this paradise for riders. Know what to look for and be ready in order to keep your horse in good health.

Here, we’ll explain how to spot and prevent the following seven desert hazard types: rattlesnakes, venomous pests, hyperthermia, dehydration, cactus/poisonous plants, overheating/overhydration, and thunderstorms/flash flooding. We’ll also assist you in assembling a survival kit for the desert.

The huge, hot, dry, and windy landscape makes hauling a horse in the Southwest desert difficult. Here are eight suggestions for maintaining your traveling horse’s comfort in this setting.

  • Make a trip plan. There are many states, including California, Nevada, Utah, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Determine in advance how far you’ll need to travel each day to get there. Plan overnight stays if you’ll be driving more than six hours per day. Plan to drive during the cool morning and evening hours if it’s going to be particularly hot, and to stop during the midday sun.
  • Visit the vet. Colic, the most common cause of mortality in horses, can be brought on by dehydration and stress that can happen during lengthy trailer journeys through a dry environment. Consult your veterinarian in advance to learn how to lessen the gastric upset that will occur while your horse is traveling.
  • Think about electrolytes. Consider feeding your horse electrolytes (salts and minerals) before you leave on hot days and long journeys to replenish the salts lost via sweat. Give him plenty of clean, electrolyte-free water at the same time. Dehydration from electrolytes might occur if your horse doesn’t drink enough fluids.
  • Air out your trailer. Dr. Hoover advises opening your windows and vents to allow fresh air into your trailer because of the heat and the distance you will be traveling. Ventilation aids in protecting your horse from respiratory issues, which can quickly develop into a catastrophic case of pneumonia. When traveling, invest in window screens and use a fly mask to protect your horse’s eyes from flying insects and road debris.
  • Tie your horse securely. While tying your horse, make sure he can’t trap a foot in the lead rope and that he has enough space to lower his head and empty his sinuses.
  • Speed up. To maintain control in windy circumstances, slow down.
  • Take pauses. Every three to four hours, stop for a rest stop when towing a long distance. If it’s safe and your horse is trailer-trained, you can unload him during breaks.
  • Provide water. Offer your horse water when you stop so he may stay hydrated.

2. Heat exhaustion/dehydration

You must keep your horse cool and hydrated in the hot, dry conditions of the desert. Dehydration can cause colic, and overheating can cause heat stroke. Both illnesses carry a mortality risk. Here are four techniques to maintain good health in your horse.

  • Give out a lot of water. Before and after the ride, let your horse have all the water he needs. Do this on every ride, but especially in warm weather, on lengthy rides, on trails with elevation changes, or right after you pull into a trailhead.
  • Think about electrolytes. Consider feeding your horse electrolytes in accordance with the recommendations above if you plan to ride it quickly, over a long distance, up hills, or in hot weather.
  • When it’s cool, ride. Ride in the chill of the early morning or very late in the day; during the heat of the day, let your horse relax.
  • Rinse him off. On a hot or warm day, if your horse perspired during your ride, you should wash him off with a hose or a sponge and water afterward.

3. Poisonous or cactus plants

Visitors visiting the desert are most afraid of rattlesnakes, but trail riders who board at Pusch Ridge Stables say cholla cactus mishaps are more frequent and can result in mild to serious difficulties.

Segments of the cholla cactus are readily brushed off of you or your horse. Your horse can effortlessly flick a section up to his leg or belly from the ground. In truth, the cholla cactus is “A bystander could mistake it for a jumping cactus.

The numerous barbed spines of the cholla cactus are uncomfortable to touch and difficult to remove due to their barbed ends.

When horses come into contact with cholla, some of them become simply agitated. The risk arises when a “A piece of cholla is encountered by the touchy, reacting horse. Even an experienced rider may fall off the horse in a matter of seconds if it panicked and started rushing away, bucking, or spinning in a blind rage up against more cacti.

If all you have to do is pick out a few spines, consider yourself lucky. After giving your horse a sedative, a vet could need to remove the horse’s spines; in that case, you might need to see an urgent care facility.

You should be aware of the appearance of cholla cactus and allow it plenty of space to avoid such a terrible meeting. Watch careful for cactus fragments on the trail. Leg boots are an option for your horse’s protection, but bear in mind that they absorb and concentrate heat, making your horse uncomfortable on warm days.

What keeps animals from eating cacti?

Explanation: Many cacti have oxalic and malic acids in their fluids and flesh; oxalic acid is harmful, but new growth contains less than older growth, and boiling removes malic acid, but I’m not sure if it also kills oxalic acid. Oxalic acid interacts with calcium in animals and can clog the kidneys, which can lead to renal failure.