Geese Are The Best Guard Animals In History

“Shall I, like Curtius, desperate in my zeal, / O’er head and ears plunge for the common weal? / Or rob Rome’s ancient geese of all their glories, / And cackling save the monarchies of Tories?” —Alexander Pope, The Dunciad

In A Nutshell

In Ancient Greek myth, the entrance to the underworld was guarded by Cerberus: the meanest, ugliest, most ornery, three-headed dog that underworld money could buy. But it turns out that Hades, the ruler of the land, missed a trick. From the two birds that saved Ancient Rome to their modern equivalent guarding Brazilian prisons, history has shown that even Hercules would likely have been flummoxed by a simple guard goose.

The Whole Bushel

Remember that scene in Lethal Weapon 3 where Mel Gibson manages to bust up some bad guys after befriending their guard dog? Well, had those cocky gun-runners gone with a guard goose, things may well have turned out differently. According to National Geographic, geese are literally the best guard animals in existence.

For one thing, their eyesight is incredible. Not just when measured against dogs, but measured against humans too. Thanks to an extra light sensor in their eyes, geese can see further and in clearer detail than any of us could ever hope to. They’re also super-territorial and—unlike dogs—can’t be paid off with a packet of biscuits you happen to be carrying. Try and distract a goose and it just honks louder, alerting the nameless goons next door to their incoming comeuppance.

So, why do we never hear about these wonder guards? Well, we do. In 390 B.C., two geese alerted Rome to an impending Gaul attack, potentially saving the city from destruction. For generations after, the event was commemorated by having a pampered goose watch the city’s treacherous guard dogs get crucified. In modern times, too, these super-birds have their uses: Chinese cops in the Xinjiang province use them to guard police stations, while at least one Brazilian prison has them patrol the grounds in case of a mass breakout.

In fact, in just about every head-to-head contest geese put our canine friends to shame. Need to stop those pesky kids next door from messing up your lawn? It’s time you bought a goose.

Show Me The Proof

She-Wolf: The Story of a Roman Icon, by Cristina Mazzoni
Huffington Post: Brazil Prison Uses Geese As Alarm System
National Geographic: Honk If You Think Geese Are Good Guard Dogs

  • Hillyard

    The Army used geese at some of the 32 ADA’s missile site during the ’80s. I can’t remember how long the program lasted but I do know that they stopped it.

  • Karmala

    I’d also like to add, that unlike Austin Powers, these things bite and HARD!

  • Lisa 39

    7 years ago we were at a campground, my daughter who was 14 at the time had been hanging out at the game room with friends, when it started getting dark she started walking to the camper, on her way she was attacked by a goose, it snuck up behind her and started pecking and honking at her and then chased her home, so i guess they guard campgrounds also

    • Atlas

      Once my brother and I, while fishing at a lake near my house, were attacked by like 3 geese and bitten and pecked. They’re intense animals.

      • Lisa 39

        I think they’re hellspawn when they go around attacking kids lol i’m glad you and your brother survived, i will say tho that telling stories about goose attacks makes people laugh pretty darn hard!

        • Atlas

          Yeah, I think it’s because no one expects them to be so crazy hostile.

          • Lisa 39

            They’re geese for criminy sake, they’re supposed to be harmless lol

          • Atlas

            Lol exactly!

          • Lisa 39

            What does your avatar say?

          • Atlas

            Between The Buried And Me, it’s a band 🙂 and the pic is one of their logos.

          • Lisa 39

            I’ve never heard if them, what kind of music?

          • Atlas

            They are considered metal, they’re one of my faves.

          • Lisa 39

            I’ll have to check them out but i’m not big on a lot of metal, do you know who andrew jackson jihad is?

          • Atlas

            If you’re not huge on metal, then you might not like them, they’re different and pretty heavy, but hey it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I haven’t heard of them, I’ll check them out though!

          • Lisa 39

            Go on youtube and look for their song “ladykiller” its the only song i’ve listened to by them and its frickin funny, but don’t watch it in front of little kids or your mom may beat your butt! You probably shouldn’t let your mom see it either, i don’t know how her sense of humor is 😉

          • Atlas

            Okay I will, and thanks for the heads-up ;)!

          • Lisa 39

            Everytime 🙂