Mountain Goats
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About Mountain GoatsAbout Mountain Goats



The Mountain Goat (Oreamnos Aamericanus),rnalso known as the Rocky Mountain Goat,rnis a large wild goat found only in North America. They are a sure-footed climber commonly seen on cliffs and ice inrnsub-alpine to alpine regions.

rnrnBoth male and female mountain goats have beards, short tails, and long blackrnhorns which contain yearly growth rings. They are protected from the elementsrnby their woolly white double coats. The fine, dense wool of their undercoats isrncovered by an outer layer of longer, hollow hairs. Mountain goats molt inrnspring by rubbing against rocks and trees. Their coats help them to withstandrnwinter temperatures as low as −50  F (−46  C) and winds of up torn100  mph (160  km/h).

rnrnA male (Billy) stands about 1mrn(3.3 ft) at the shoulder to the waist and can weigh considerably more thanrnthe female (nanny) (around 30% more in some cases). Male goats also have longerrnhorns and longer beards than females. Mountain goats can weigh between 45 andrn140 kg (99 and 309 lb), though even males will often weigh less than 82 kgrn(181 lb). The head-and-body length can range from 120–179 cm (47–70 in), with arnsmall tail adding 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in).

rnrnThe mountain goat's feet arernwell-suited for climbing steep, rocky slopes with pitches exceeding 60°, withrninner pads that provide traction and cloven hooves that can spreadrnapart. The tips of their feet have sharp dewclaws that keep them from slipping.

rnrnMountain Goats inhabit the Rocky Mountains and Cascade Range and other mountain regions of the Western North America, from Washington, Idaho and Montana through BritishrnColumbia and Alberta, into thernsouthern Yukon and southeastern Alaska.rnIts northernmost range is said to be along the northern fringe of the ChugachrnMountains in south-central Alaska. Introduced populations can alsornbe found in such areas as Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, SouthrnDakota, and the Olympic Peninsula of Washington.

rnrnMountain goats are the largestrnmammals found in their high-altitude habitats, which can exceed elevations of 13,000 feet (4,000 m).rnThey usually stay above the tree line throughout thernyear but they will migrate seasonally to higher or lower elevations within thatrnrange. Winter migrations to low-elevation mineral licks often take them several kilometers through forestedrnareas.

rnrnMountain goats are herbivoresrnand spend most of their time grazing. Their diets include grasses, herbs, sedges, ferns, mosses, lichens, and twigsrnand leaves from the low-growing shrubs and conifers of their high-altitude habitat. In captivity, thernmountain goat's diet can also include grain, alfalfa, fruits, and vegetables, and grass.

rnrnIn the wild, mountain goatsrnusually live 12 to 15 years, with their lifespans limited by the wearing downrnof their teeth.

rnrnDespite their common name, theyrnare not a member of the genus Capra like all domestic goats. The MountainrnGoat is of the order Artiodactyla and the family Bovidae which also includes antelopes, gazelles, and cattle. They belong to the subfamily Caprinae (goat-antelopes),rnalong with 32 other species including truerngoats, sheep,rnthe chamois, and the muskox. The mountain goat is the only species in the genus Oreamnos. The name Oreamnos is derived from the Greek term ororn"mountain" and the word amnosrn"lamb".

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