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Mountain Goat Oreamnos americanus


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Mountain Goat on Mount Massive, Colorado, USA
credit: Darklich14/CCSA

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Family: Bovidae, Cattle, Goats, and Sheep view all from this family

Description A white goat with small, slightly curved black horns. White coat is long and shaggy in the winter and shorter in the summer. Males are larger, with longer horns. Similar to female Dallís Sheep, but with black, not brown horns.

Dimensions 1.2-1.8m, 8-20cm, 46-136kg; / 1.3-1.5m, 8-14cm, 45-83kg

Similar Species Similar to female Dallís Sheep, but with black, not brown horns.

Breeding Males display and fight among themselves for access to females, and dominance hierarchies are established on the outcome. Breeding season is November-January, and one or two 2-3km young are born in May-June, usually on a steep cliff. The precocial young follow the mother immediately. Lactation lasts until fall, but young remain with mothers until the next birth. Juvenile mortality is high, but adult mortality low. Females first breed at age 3, and males somewhat later.

Habitat Alpine & subalpine habitats

Range Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Northwest, Western Canada, Alaska

Discussion Hooves are specialized for gripping rock. Maximum longevity is 20 years in the wild. Typically migrates down slope in the winter with the first snowfall and uphill in the summer. Uses open country above the timberline, with meadows for foraging and steep rocky cliffs or talus slopes for refuge from predators.