Mountain goat

Oreamnos americanus

TAXONOMY

Oreamnos americanus (de Blainville, 1816), Washington State, United States.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Chèvre des montagnes; German: Schneeziege; Spanish: Cabra de las rocosas.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length 47-63 in (120-160 cm), height 35-47 in (90-120 cm), and weight up to 308 lb (140 kg). Males average 10-30% larger than females. There is a ridge or hump above the shoulder and males have a small beard. Color is white or yellowish white. Horns are short.

DISTRIBUTION

Original range extended from southeast Alaska and northwestern Canada to north-central Oregon and Montana. Introduced to Colorado, South Dakota, Olympic National Park, and several Alaskan islands.

HABITAT

Steep slopes and cliffs in Arctic tundra or subalpine mountains. In autumn, usually moves onto south- or west-facing slopes.

BEHAVIOR

Peaks of activity in early morning and evening. Usually in small groups up of to four animals. May gather in large groups in winter.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Diet consists of a broad range of plant matter, including grasses, herbs, mosses, lichens, and shrubs.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygamous. Males fight at the rut and may inflict injuries on rivals with their sharp horns. Mating takes place November-early January and young are born late May-early June.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not currently threatened. Population was estimated at more than 80,000 and stable in 1997.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Has been extensively hunted for its meat. Some limited sport hunting still takes place. ♦

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