Home LIFE The Luxurious Poop From These Tree-Climbing Goats Produces Argan Oil

The Luxurious Poop From These Tree-Climbing Goats Produces Argan Oil

You knew that goats were good climbers – they’re often seen climbing boulders and sometimes even steep cliffs, but have you ever seen one climb a tree?Well, in the southwest of Morocco, they do.These tree climbing goats haven’t just decided to enjoy a bit of mischief. And, in this part of the world, you might easily find a dozen goats standing on the branches of just a single tree.

 image credit: CBS Sunday Morning

The nut of the argan tree, which grows in the Moroccan countryside of Essaouira, contains a valuable oil known for its anti-aging properties, that is popping up in everything from shampoo and body lotion to food products. But nowhere on the labels will you find the remarkable story behind how this oil was born – and the role goats’ digestive tracts play in its harvesting. Jonathan Vigliotti reports.

 image credit: CBS Sunday Morning

The trees are Argania spinosa, or argan, a species endemic to Morocco and a small region of western Algeria. Goats are drawn to the argan’s fruit, which ripens in June each year. They have no qualms about scampering to the top of the 30-foot-tall trees in search of a feast, and will stand on a skinny branch post-nosh, looking blissed out and whinnying softly.


The goats then poop out undigestible seeds. Those seeds are then collected, processed and turned into very expensive cosmetics and food. At least that’s the traditional method. Due to an increased demand for the product, the majority of argan oil is mostly manufactured by hand now.

The production process doesn’t involve goat excrement with this method. The oil intended for export is produced by women’s cooperatives in the region, who gather the fruit straight from the trees.“This way is harder but the quality is better. And you don’t have to touch anyone’s crap,” according to one of the production workers, Aicha Amsquine.