There have been at least five widely known cases of one-eyed goat worldwide. From South Africa to Texas to India to the Phillipines, these creatures, born with no true nose, often die within days, if not hours, of their birth.
Take the case from the Philippines. Born in a farm in Zamboanga City, this noseless, one-eyed kid (baby goat, not child) died after just under 40 hours. Not only did the lack of nose serve as an immediate cause of death, making it tough for the kid to breath, but the mother’s difficulty feeding the kid also played a significant role.
One-eyed goats, or goats suffering from cyclopia (or cyclocephaly) are thought to have developed improperly because their brains don’t split into two hemispheres in the womb. This leads to a single optic lobe, which leads to a cyclops appearance.
But what causes such malformation? People’s views on this range, many of them less than conservative. On the more scientific end, a toxin called cyclopamine (an abnormal alkaloid toxin) can prevent proper forebrain division. This toxin exists in the California corn lily, a green, leafy stem of a plant with small, white flowers clustered towards the top. If you’re pregnant, avoid eating this plant.
Full disclosure: That’s the Wikipedia version. Those who’ve actually witnessed a one-eyed goat have something else to say.
Take those who lived near Umlingo, a one-eyed goat in Durban’s Folweni township (in South Africa) named for the word “miracle.” They thought bestiality might have been the cause for the goat’s odd (to put it lightly) appearance. Owned by the proud Rose Magubane, Umlingo was born with a sibling, who had two eyes.
Some conjecture that genetically modified foods can account for the deformity. This has been an idea in Turkey, where a video of possibly the cutest known case of one-eyed goat cropped up fairly recently, in July 2014. This goat’s tongue sticks out of its mouth (it seems as if there’s nothing to hold it back), and it’s none too steady on its spindly legs.
A goat breeder in Perundurai, Erode, India discovered a one-eyed goat just short of one year prior to the birth of the cyclops goat in Turkey. A doctor who examined this goat deemed it the result of a genetic disorder…though didn’t go into much deeper explanation than that.
Lastly, this one-eyed goat achieved true star status, making its way into “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.” Delmer Batla laid claim to this kid, who was born in April 2012 with a brown face, white body, one eye, and a nose that appears more decorative than functional. This time, a veterinarian blamed the single eye on “hormonal imbalance.” For a one-eyed goat, the kid lived a comparatively long life—about two weeks.