Mountain Goat

Oreamnos americanus

Photo: Nancy Turner

Mountain Goat

Appearance

Mountain goats have a beautiful long, thick white coat which is contrasted by their jet black horns that jut out at the top of their head. They range in size, but on average they are about the size of a cow calf.

Range & Habitat

Mountain goats can be found in every mountain range from Alaska, throughout B.C., and as far south as Washington. These goats are mostly found at high elevations in steep, cliff-dominated landscapes. They live in the Northern Boreal Mountains, the Coast and Mountains and Southern Interior Mountains ecoprovinces.

Diet & Behaviour

Most of their diet consists of grass, wildflowers, and some lichens that grow on ledges. They have also been known to eat needles and twigs when grasses are scarce. Mountain goats have the incredible ability to stand on an area the size of a Canadian quarter. Most adult male goats, called ‘billies’ are solitary, whereas the females (nannies) and young (kids) stick close together.

Lifecycle & Threats

In November the mating spectacle begins. Billies coat themselves in dust while ploughing down vegetation with their horns, which have special scent glands at their base, to attract females. Kids are born in May and can live up to 12 years of age. Some goats are killed in avalanches in the high ranges of their habitat.

Status

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information

www.blueplanetbiomes.org

Photo: Richard Droker