Ibex – Did You Know…

… That Ibex are wild goats that live in the mountainous regions of Europe, north central Asia and northern Africa? There are five species of ibex, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). They have long, curved horns and cloven hooves. Males have long beards. Ibex are related to antelopes, buffalo, bison, cattle, goats and sheep.  

Ibex are typically about 1 to 5.5 feet (30 to 170 centimeters) from their hooves to withers, the highest part of the shoulders at the base of the neck. Ibex tend to weigh about 65 to 265 lbs. (30 to 120 kilograms).  

Both male and female ibex have very long horns, which are used for territorial defense and sexual selection. They curve backward, forming a semicircle, and have knobby rings on the outer curve. Male horns may reach about 5 feet (1.5 m) long.

Ibex are social and live in groups called herds. The herds are segregated by gender, meaning males will have a herd, and the females and offspring will be in another herd. The two herds usually meet only during breeding season.

Ibex make their homes on cliffs that would be dangerous for predators. The Walia ibex can live at altitudes as high as 8,200 to 14,800 feet (2,500 to 4,500 m) in the cliffs of the Ethiopian highlands.

The male herd is called a bachelor herd. Sometimes, males will wander without a herd. Female herds can have 10 to 20 members.

Ibex males use scent to communicate with potential mates. Nubian ibex males use their beards to spread a scent that draws in and excites females during breeding season. Breeding season for ibex is called the rut. During the rut, males fight for the right to breed with the females by pushing their heads together. The winners will court the female in a process that can take around 30 minutes.

Once pregnant, females will have a gestation period of 147 to 180 days. She will give birth to one to three babies, called kids, at a time.

Right after birth, a kid is very alert and can jump around. After four weeks, it is ready to join the other kids in the group. At four to six months, a kid is weaned. It will remain with its mother for at least a year. Females will go on to have their own young at 2 to 6 years of age. The life span of ibex in the wild is about 17 years.

9 thoughts on “Ibex – Did You Know…

  1. Pingback: The Alps – Did You Know… | A Momma's View

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