… That the Rocky Mountain goat, is a large hoofed mammal endemic to North America. A subalpine to alpine species, it is a sure-footed climber commonly seen on cliffs and ice. Despite its vernacular name, it is not a member of Capra, the genus that includes all other goats, such as the wild goat from which the domestic goat is derived.
Both male and female mountain goats have beards, short tails, and long black horns, 15–28 cm (5.9–11.0 in) in length. The horns, just like trees, contain yearly growth rings. Mountain goats are protected from the elements by their woolly white double coats. Their fine, dense wool of the undercoats is covered by an outer layer of longer, hollow hairs. Mountain goats molt in spring by rubbing against rocks and trees. There seems to be a system in this as the adult males shedding their extra wool first and the pregnant females last. Their coats help them to withstand winter temperatures as low as −50 °F (−46 °C) and winds of up to 100 mph (160 km/h).
A billy (the male mountain goat) stands about 1 m (3.3 ft) at the shoulder to the waist and can weigh considerably more than the nanny (the female mountain goat). It varies around 30% more in some cases. Male goats also have longer horns and longer beards than females. The weight is anywhere between 45 and 140 kg (99 and 309 lb), and billies will often weigh less than 82 kg (181 lb). The head-and-body length can range from 120–179 cm (47–70 in), with a small tail adding 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in).
The mountain goat’s feet are well-suited for climbing steep, rocky slopes with pitches exceeding 60°, with inner pads that provide traction and cloven hooves that can spread apart. The tips of their feet have sharp dewclaws that keep them from slipping. They have powerful shoulder and neck muscles that help propel them up steep slopes. If you have spent time in the mountains you most likely have seen mountain goats in action. Most likely from far. I always found it amazing to watch them climb with ease.
And now you probably wonder what made me share all of this about mountain goats. Well, honestly this scene form “Brother Bear”. And a discussion we had about mountain goats the other day in the car…