The Dereila Nature Inn - a cyber nature centre for nature lovers
#1 - The Mountain Goat
For many people, the Mountain Goat, Oreamnos americanus, is the icon of the North American wilderness. This amazing animal is able to inhabit some of the most dangerous and remote alpine areas.
Mountain Goat with its splendid coat.

The Mountain Goat is not really a true goat but a member of the cattle family of hoofed animals, ungulates. It is found only in North America, living in the mountain ranges from southern Alaska, into the Yukon and down to Idaho and Montana. Its closest relative is Chamois of the European Alps.

Its habitat is that of the high mountain slopes. Few predators can match its skill traversing these heights although the cougar has been known to hunt. Young kids can also fall prey to eagles.

The Mountain Goat is a very distinctive squarish-looking animal with a short body with humped shoulders.

It has a narrow head with a black nose, sharply pointed ears and shiny black hollow horns which grow annual rings and can indicate age. The chin is another identifying feature with its short, shaggy beard. There is also a mat of long hairs on its throat. But it is the goat's thick, white coat that makes it instantly recognizable.
A Mountain Goat shedding its winter coat.
A Mountain Goat on a rocky cliff.
The coat has a thick undercoat covered with course guard hairs which forms heavy mats over the shoulders and create the humped look. This coat helps the goat survive the coldest temperatures and winds. The coat grows to within a few inches of the feet where it stops abruptly. Black hooves accent the white coat. As warmer weather returns, the goats start to shed their winter protection and take on a finer cooler appearance.
A Mountain Goat and its kid.
As the last days of winter depart the animals return to the salt licks like this one, introducing the new born-kids to the minerals they enjoy. Their coats now turn a dirty looking yellow, but the new ones will soon return in time for another winter.
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