The Golden Takin: Rare & Weird

On March 2, 2014 by Tim Newman

Golden Takin - Wikipedia

I’d like to introduce you to the Shaanxi  or golden takin (Budorcas taxicolor). These lovely looking beasts are on the endangered list and live in China and Bhutan. Despite their looks they’re more closely related to sheep and goats than they are to cows, elk or antelope.

They’re classed as a goat antelope and hang out in the Himalayas. They live in groups of around 20 in family units but in the summer congregate into herds of up to 300 individuals. The golden takin have probably never been particularly numerous, but over-hunting has reduced their number dramatically. There’s a lot of meat and warmth to be had from a takin.


They’ve got a patented two coat system to keep them warm: one thick outer coat to stave off the cold and a more flimsy undergarment. The golden takin’s big snout helps it warm up the air that it breaths in before it hits their internal organs which helps to keep heat loss down.

Golden Takin - Guangzhou Xiangjiang Safari Park

The takin’s skin secretes a strong smelling oily substance which serves as yet another barrier to the elements. Apparently it smells like butyric acid but that doesn’t really help me imagine it. So I Googled “what does butyric acid smell like?” Wikipedia says:

It has an unpleasant smell and acrid taste, with a sweetish aftertaste (similar to ether).

So there’s at least one good reason why they wouldn’t make good house pets.

Golden Takin - Budorcas taxicolor

Animal Collection

Takin are about the size of an average cow and are reported to be incredibly aggressive. I suppose if I had to live outside in the cold all of the time I’d get pretty cross too. Despite the golden takin’s size they do have a number of predators, so keeping angry is probably a good plan.  The Asiatic black bear and the leopard, and less commonly tigersgray wolves, snow leopard and dholes (a type of Asian wild dog) will all have a go at these guys given a chance.

Golden Takin

Some believe that the golden takin’s hide is the origin of the Golden Fleece legend. So maybe Jason and his radical Argonaut pals were on the hunt for a golden takin hide all along. The oldest fossil of a takin dates back to between 2 and 4 million years ago and was found in China.

Animal Vs Animal Articles On LAZERHORSE.ORG

Golden Takin - 2

There are four subspecies of takin in total, all of which live between 1,000 and 4,500 m above sea level. He really is a handsome chap isn’t he?

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