Thursday, January 22, 2015

Even the Trees Knew

I came across this intriguing picture of mountain goats on Pinterest the other day,

and as I've mentioned before, one of my favorite elements of the website is the fact that is pulls similar pictures up as well, so I found quite a few mountain goat-laden landscapes.

This made me curious.  How do they stand on a wall of rock like that?  What are they eating (smelling?  licking? something else?) off the rocks?  How do they fearlessly leap over a schism of death?

So I opened wikipedia in a new window and typed in mountain goat.  Turns out, they are a subalpine to alpine species only found in North America.  Their horns can grow almost a foot tall, and have yearly growth rings.  They have a double layer of white wooly coats to sustain -50' winters, then shed the outer layer in the spring by rubbing against rocks and trees.  Their feet have inner pads that provide traction, cloven hooves that can spread apart, and sharp dewclaws that help reduce slipping.  They are herbivores, spending most of the time grazing on grasses and other small plants, while also migrating seasonally to follow salt and mineral licks.

And there you have it!  Next time someone asks you about your knowledge of mountain goats, you can impress them with a few of these fun facts.

(photos collected from nowandthan,, flickr, wallshark, and besttravelphotos)

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