Rocky Mountain goat
The Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) is a hoofed mammal endemic to mountainous areas of western North America. A subalpine to alpine species, it is a sure-footed climber commonly seen on cliffs and ice. Despite its vernacular name the Mountain goat is not a member of Capra, the genus that includes all other goats, from which the domestic goat is derived. Instead, it is more closely related with the takins and chamois.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
In zoology, a graminivore (not to be confused with a granivore) is an herbivorous animal that feeds primarily on grass. Graminivory is a form of g...
In zoology, a folivore is a herbivore that specializes in eating leaves. Mature leaves contain a high proportion of hard-to-digest cellulose, less ...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
Congregatory animals tend to gather in large numbers in specific areas as breeding colonies, for feeding, or for resting.
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Grazing is a method of feeding in which a herbivore feeds on plants such as grasses, or other multicellular organisms such as algae. In agriculture...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
A herd is a social grouping of certain animals of the same species, either wild or domestic. The form of collective animal behavior associated with...
A dominance hierarchy (formerly and colloquially called a pecking order) is a type of social hierarchy that arises when members of animal social gr...
Altitudinal migration is a short-distance animal migration from lower altitudes to higher altitudes and back. Altitudinal migrants change their ele...
CaCanada Province Animals
Both male and female Mountain goats have beards, short tails, and long black horns that contain yearly growth rings. They are protected from the elements by their woolly white double coats. The fine, dense wool of their undercoats is covered by an outer layer of longer, hollow hairs. Mountain goats molt in spring by rubbing against rocks and trees, with the adult billies shedding their extra wool first and the pregnant nannies shedding last. Their coats help them to withstand winter temperatures as low as −46 °C (−51 °F) and winds of up to 160 kilometers per hour (99 mph). Male Mountain goats are typically larger, stronger, and heavier than females and have a longer beard than females. Male goats also have longer horns than females.
Mountain goats live in the Rocky Mountains and the Cascade Range and other mountain regions of the Western Cordillera of North America, from Washington, Idaho, and Montana through British Columbia and Alberta, into the southern Yukon and southeastern Alaska. Their northernmost range is said to be along the northern fringe of the Chugach Mountains in southcentral Alaska. These animals usually stay above the tree line throughout the year but they will migrate seasonally to higher or lower elevations within that range. Winter migrations to low-elevation mineral licks often take them several kilometers through forested areas.
Mountain goats are social animals; after the breeding season is over, males and females move away from each other, with the adult males (billies) breaking up into small bands of two or three individuals. Females (nannies) form loose-knit nursery groups of up to 50 animals. They are active during the day and spend most of their time grazing. Mountain goats establish dominance hierarchies and can be quite aggressive. Nannies can be very competitive and protective of their space and food sources. They fight with one another for dominance in conflicts that can ultimately include all the nannies in the herd. In these battles, nannies circle each other with their heads lowered, displaying their horns. As with fights between billies during the breeding season, these conflicts can occasionally lead to injury or death but are usually harmless. To avoid fighting, an animal may show a posture of nonaggression by stretching low to the ground. In regions below the tree line, nannies use their fighting abilities to protect themselves and their offspring from predators such as mountain lions, wolves, wolverines, lynxes, and bears.
Mountain goats are polygynous meaning that males mate with more than one female; however, some females may sometimes mate with multiple males during the breeding season. Nannies in a herd are ready to breed in late October through early December, at which time males and females participate in a mating ritual. Mature billies stare at nannies for long periods, dig rutting pits, and fight each other in showy (though occasionally dangerous) scuffles. Young billies sometimes try to participate, but they are ignored by nannies; nannies also sometimes pursue inattentive billies. Kids are born in the spring (late May or early June) after a six-month gestation period. Nannies give birth, usually to a single offspring, after moving to an isolated ledge. Kids weigh a little over 3 kilograms (6.6 lb) at birth and begin to run and climb (or attempt to do so) within hours. Although they are mostly weaned within one month, kids follow their mothers closely for the first year of life (or until the nanny gives birth again if this does not occur the next breeding season); nannies protect their young by leading them out of danger, standing over them when faced by predators, and positioning themselves below their kids on steep slopes to stop freefalls. Mountain goats reach reproductive maturity at about 30 months of age.
Mountain goats are not currently endangered; however, these animals are sensitive to human disturbance, especially increasing helicopter activities for industrial and tourism activities. Road construction, mining, and other development also have harmful effects on the population of this species.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Mountain goat is 48,000-62,000 mature individuals. In 2010, the total population in Canada was estimated at 43,700-70,200 individuals including 2000 individuals in Alberta; 39,000-65,500 individuals in British Columbia; 1,000 individuals in Northwest Territories; and 1,700 individuals in Yukon. Recent total estimates in the United States are 37,000-47,000 individuals, with 24,000-33,500 individuals in Alaska. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.