Fact Sheet
Mountain Goat

Basic Facts About Mountain Goats

Despite its name, the mountain goat is actually a member of the antelope family. It has a long face, long black horns and a short tail. Both males and females have beard-like hair on their chins. The mountain goat sports a coat of wooly, white fur that keeps it warm at high elevations. This coat has a double layer for added warmth during winter—the overcoat molts, or falls off, during summer time.

Known for their agility, mountain goats are most often seen scaling steep, rocky ledges. This extreme alpine environment provides them with adequate protection from predators. Strong muscular forequarters and pliable hooves with soft rubbery pads help them maintain traction on craggy rock surfaces and survive in harsh conditions.

Diet

Mountain goats eat grasses, sedges, herbs, shrubs, ferns mosses and lichen.

Population

Did You Know?

From around the age of 22 months, it is possible to tell the age of a mountain goat by counting the number of rings on its horns!

There are an estimated 100,000 Mountain Goats in North America.

Range

The Rocky Mountain and coastal ranges of northwestern North America, including southwestern Alaska. 

Behavior

Mountain goats are active both during the day and night, but take time to rest under overhanging cliffs. They mostly live in herds and move around according to season. In the summer, smaller groups will travel to salt licks. Females, called nannies, spend most of the year in herds with their kids, while males either live alone or with 2 - 3 other males. Nannies can be protective of their territory and food, and so will fight other nannies in their herds. During mating season, males will fight each other using their horns for the right to mate with females.

Reproduction

Mating Season: November and December.
Gestation: 150-180 days.
Litter size: Typically one kid; twins rarely.
At birth, the kid weighs around 6 lbs and are able to move along the rocks with its mother within a day or so after.

More on Mountain Goat: Threats to Mountain Goats »