|This is a picture of two mountain goats - an adult and a kid.|
The Mountain Goat is also known as the Rocky Mountain Goat. It is a large hoofed mammal that only lives in North America. Despite it's name, it is not a member of the Capra, the genus of true goats. They are in the same genus as antelopes, gazelles, and cattle. It resides in high elevations and is a sure-footed climber, often resting on rocky cliffs that predators can't reach. Both male and female mountain goats have beards, short tails, and long black horns. They are protected from the cold wind and snow by their woolly white double coats. The fine, dense wool of their undercoats is covered by an outer layer of longer, hollow hairs. In spring, mountain goats moult by rubbing against rocks and trees, with the adult billies (males) shedding their extra wool first and the pregnant nannies (females) shedding last. The mountain goat's feet are well-suited for climbing steep, rocky slopes, sometimes with pitches of 60 degrees or more, with inner pads that provide traction and cloven hooves that can be spread apart as needed. In the wild, mountain goats usually live twelve to fifteen years, with their lifespan limited by the wearing down of their teeth. In zoos, however,they can live for sixteen to twenty years. Kids are born in the spring (late May or early June) after a six month gestation period. Nannies usually give birth to only one kid. Mountain goats are herbivores and spend most of their time grazing. Their diet includes grasses, herbs, sedges, ferns, moss, lichen, twigs and leaves from the low-growing shrubs and conifers of their high-altitude habitat. The mountain goat is very well adapted to mountain life. Mountain goats are awesome animals!