Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus)

Description
mountain goat

Size

  • Males, called "billies", weigh about 85 kilograms (190 pounds).
  • Females, or "nannies", weigh about 62 kilograms (135 pounds).

Appearance

  • The mountain goat can be identified by its short, stocky body and long white coat.
  • Long guard hairs over the shoulders give it a hump-backed appearance.
  • Other noticeable features include:
    • Full white beard or chin hairs
    • Black nose
    • Pointed black horns
Distribution
  • Alberta mountain goat populations are found in the alpine zone of the Rocky Mountains.
Natural History

Habitat

  • Mountain goats remain in or near alpine areas throughout the year, moving only in winter to south and southwest facing slopes or to windswept ridges where snow cover is minimal.
  • Mountain goats rarely venture to lower elevations except to visit salt or mineral licks.

Food

  • Mountain goats feed on grasses, sedges and forbs, and browse on dwarf willow and subalpine fir.
Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • The rut occurs from November to December.
  • Young (known as "kids") are born the following spring.
Conservation and Management

Status

The mountain goat is classified as Secure in the General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Current Management

Hunting

See details in the Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations. To view the guide online or to order a printed copy, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:

How do mountain goats climb such difficult terrain?

Mountain goats are expert climbers and can cross difficult terrain with apparent ease. But how do they do it?

Their agility is mainly due to the construction of their hoofs. These have soft bottom pads which are surrounded by a hard outer shell. Unlike other cloven-hoofed animals, the two parts of the goat's hoof can move independently of each other. These features enable mountain goats to grip rough and slippery surfaces when climbing.

 

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Updated: May 18, 2010