Mountain Goat - Rock-Climbing Maestro
This splendid-looking animal is not a true goat but a goat-antelope mix and the only one of its kind (genus). It is found among boulders and rocky screes above the tree line and is well adapted to its, cold, harsh habitat in North America. The mountain goats of Europe and Asia are a whole other group - the ibex.
It has thick, woolly under fur and a long hairy winter outer coat, which is particularly thick and stiff on the neck and shoulders, forming a ridge or hump. The hoofs have a hard sharp rim enclosing a soft spongy inner pad which gives the mountain goat a good grip on rocks and ice. Both sexes have beards and horns.
They are not the fastest moving goats but they are sure-footed on inaccessible ledges as they search for shrubs, grass and lichen to eat. They also enjoy a good salt lick. Up on the ledges they are far away from any possible predators. Unfortunately, these high-altitudes with not defend them from human hunters.
In the cold winter with heavy snows, they come down from the peaks to where the snow is not so deep. The young kids are remarkably active and within half an hour of birth are able to jump up and around on the rocks.