Natural History

Mountain Goat

posted: 05/02/13
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MOUNTAIN GOAT, Glacier National Park, Montana | Photo Caption: Excerpted from North America: A World in One Continent by Huw Cordey

The mountain goat is the true master of the mountains. While others descend to warmer elevations or hibernate, the goats tough out the worst of the winter.

In the middle of winter, one hundred-mile-an-hour (161 kph) arctic winds blast the summit of Idaho's Pioneer Range. Yet the mountain goat calls these peaks home at twelve thousand feet (3,658 m). Here they feed on the tips of the highest growing trees, themselves at the limit of their range.

"In the summer, the mountain goats emerge from the misty summits and begin a perilous journey from the peaks to the valleys below. Having spent the winter eating twigs and lichens, they are driven by a need for vital mineral salt."

EXPLORE THE MOUNTAINS: Collared Pika | Mountain Goat | Bighorn Sheep | Calliope Hummingbird | Wolverine | Mountain Lion | Acorn Woodpecker | All North American Animals

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