Peak Insights: 7 Must-Know Facts About Mountain Goats

Jeshua Cardenas

Eco Discussion in one of its recent reports highlighted the need for climate stories to “inspire rather than intimidate”. Essentially, frightening images bringing the consequences of climate change in the limelight must be counterbalanced by inspiring tales of creativity and hope.

Mountain goats have long been counted among the greatest mountaineers the peaks have ever known. These fascinating creatures have adapted to live in some of the harshest environments on Earth. Their unique characteristics continue to capture the imagination of researchers.

Yet, now that high altitudes are heating up faster, the mountain goats’ future is less than certain. Wildlife biologist Bruce Smith, who spent years studying the creature, said climate change is changing the rules of the game for animals that live on what he calls “islands in the sky”.

7 Fun Facts About Mountain Goats

From their distinctive physical features to their incredible climbing abilities, there is so much to learn about mountain goats. This article will uncover a set of interesting facts about the fascinating animal to help you get a deeper understanding of the species.

Mountain Goats Are Not True Goats

They are not classified in the same group of species as true goats. The most obvious distinction lies in their habitats. Mountain goats usually reside among mountain peaks. Their high-altitude homes demand thicker fur than their domesticated counterparts.

Note: The mountain goats’ two pointy horns separate them genetically the most from true goats.

They Are Excellent Swimmers

These incredible high-altitude animals are strong swimmers and have been known to cross lakes and rivers in search of new territories and food. In addition, they have incredible balance that minimise the risk of falls. But if a fall does occur, they can often survive it.

These Beasts Have Predators

Mountain goats

Predators of mountain goats include bears, cougars and wolves. Their impressive climbing abilities and herding behaviour shield them from threats. Moreover, these creatures have remarkable eyesight, allowing them to detect predators from afar and stay vigilant.

Mountain Goats Molt Their Coats

These animals are known to shed their winter coats each spring in a process called molting, revealing their lighter and shorter summer coats underneath. They are known to live for about 12 to 15 years in the wild on average, although some could reach 20 years of age.

The Secret Lies In Their Horns

Mountain goats

Just shy of their two year birthday, you can easily guess the age of a mountain goat by counting the rings on their horns. The horns will have one less ring than the actual age. So the horn of a mountain goat that is two years of age will have one ring, and so on.

Are Mountain Goats Dangerous?

Female mountain goats are called nannies and the male ones, billies. Nannies can be protective of their territory and food, while billies will fight with each other in the mating season. Mountain goats may even become hostile towards humans. It’s, therefore, recommended to stay cautious.

They Are Herbivores

Mountain goats

These creatures survive mainly on grass, herbs and mosses that grow in their high-altitude homes. They have a specialised digestive system that allows them to extract maximum nutrients from food sources, no matter how low the availability is.

Conservation Efforts Key To Save Mountain Goats

Mountain goats remain some of the most fascinating mountaineers in the world. But they have become even more vulnerable as hunting, habitat loss and climate change exacerbate existing difficulties for the creatures. It is crucial to continue conservation efforts.

Learning about the wild mountain goats enriches our knowledge and reminds us of the importance of environmental conservation. By protecting these animals, we can ensure our predecessors get a chance to witness the majestic species in their natural habitat.

Jeshua Cardenas

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