Facts about the Takin

Mark Gordon BrownStarred Page By Mark Gordon Brown, 24th Jul 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Science>Nature

The Takin is such a strange and poorly known beast that even my computer Spell Check was unfamiliar with it. Learn more...


My first, and so far only, encounter with the animal known as a Takin was at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, in Alberta. For most people a visit to the zoo will be the only place they see a Takin. A quick trip to the other side of the world would put me in closer contact with them. After all, these mammals are native to the eastern Himalayas and are Bhutan's national animal.

Takin stand about 3 to 4 feet high at the shoulder (100-130 centimeters) and are ruminant herbivores. They eat mostly bamboo leaves, grasses, and even pines. The live in higher altitudes, well over 6000 feet (2000 meters). Clearly most zoo habitats do not meet their standards for preferred environments, however as a threatened species, zoos are valuable for education and breeding programs. The main reason for the Takins decline in the wild is human encroachment, but they are also hunted for meat, sometimes illegally. They are fully protected under the law in China.

More about Takin

Saint Lama Drukpa Kunley came to Bhutan in the 15th Century with the intent of showing off his magical powers. He demanded a goat and cow for his own personal feast. At the end of eating he stuck the head of the goat onto the remains of the cow and commanded it to come alive, thus creating the Takin, if you can believe it. Should I mention that he was known to be a bit crazy? None the less, this is the legend of the Takins origin.

Natural adaptations such as having a large nose to warm the cold air, have helped the Takin survive where it does. These animals can push over small trees to get leaves or can even stand up on their hind legs, resting their front ones on the tree trunk, to reach higher leaves.

DNA has revealed Takin to be a distant relative of the sheep and the Musk Ox. Indeed they are covered with wool, which tends to be gold or brown on their body, and darker, or black on their stomach and legs. They have one set of horns.

In the summer Takin form into large herds of a hundred or so animals, in the winter, when food is harder to find, they live in smaller herds. Older bulls (males) often live solitary lives having been run off by younger ones.

You might wonder if these strange beasts be domesticated? Everyone wants a different kind of pet, but Takins are probably not a good choice, their size, combined with their goat-like attitude can make them very dangerous. For a domestic pet of equal oddity, I suggest a Yak, or even a Llama.

Related Links

Care of a Pet Llama
Buying Unusual Animals at Livestock Auctions
Starting a Petting Zoo


Animal, Asian, Facts, Information, Mammal, Rare, Takin, Unusual, Wild, Zoo

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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author avatar Dylan Budge
20th Apr 2012 (#)


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author avatar Mandy
14th Dec 2017 (#)

But goats are domesitcated. Why not takins?

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