Every weekday I will feature a new animal and some quick interesting facts about them! I will sometimes also include photos, videos, or links to articles where you can learn more.
The scientific name for the mountain goat is Oreamnos americanus. They are also known as the Rocky Mountain goat. They are not true goats and are not in the same genus as true goats, but they are in the same subfamily (Caprinae).
Mountain goats are more like goat-antelopes and are not closely related to domestic goats. They do not headbutt like true goats and instead will stab with their horns.
Mountain goats can only be found in northwestern North America in alpine areas including the Rocky Mountains, the Cascades, and other mountain regions. They can be found in parts of Alaska, Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. They have also been introduced to Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, South Dakota, and the Olympic Peninsula of Washington.
Mountain goats prefer high altitudes and can be found from sea level to above 13,000 feet (4,000 meters). They usually stay above the treeline, but do come down occasionally.
Mountain goats are excellent climbers and can climb cliffs and ice. They have specialized cloven hooves with two toes and each toe has a rough pad that is also flexible enough to provide grip.
A group of mountain goats is called a herd. A male is called a billy, a female a nanny, and their babies are called kids.
Both males and females have beards and black horns. After their first year of age, their horns grow rings every winter. You can tell their age by how many rings they have. The horns can grow up to 11 inches long. Their horns can cause severe injury. Females are more territorial and more likely to fight than males.
Mountain goats can sometimes be confused with Dall sheep. Mountain goats have black horns. Dall sheep horns are lighter colored, and the rams have large horns that curl.
To keep warm, mountain goats have double coats that have dense wool underneath and long hollow hairs on top. They shed their winter coat in the spring by rubbing it off on rocks and trees. They are able to handle very low temperatures down to -50 degrees Fahrenheit (-46 Celsius) and wind speeds up to 99 mph (160 km).