I can't believe it's been five years since we've seen the Mountain Goats in Glacier (Glacier)National Park, up in Northwest Montana (Montana). We returned a few years ago, but we were fogged out. It was a good year for snow cover, but wildlife viewing was limited.
Mountain Goats molt (shed some hair) beginning in the spring, so this shaggy appearance is normal.
This one is probably still up there, because their lifespan is about 12-15 years in the wild.
These are not Rocky Mountain Sheep, which have a longer, brownish body; are heavier; with massive, spiralling, horns.
Mountain Goats are white, with a coat of long, relatively coarse hair. The dense, woolly undercoat is covered by an outer layer of hollow hairs; both providing warmth and insulation from the cold of their high elevation habitat.
Five species and subspecies range through the Rocky Mountains and coast ranges from Alaska south to Montana and Idaho. They are limited largely to national parks.
They range high in the summer, low in the winter; primarily in alpine and sub alpine habitats, but almost always above treeline.
Here's a good look at the horns, which are 6" to 11" long (15-28cm). Both males and females have horns, and are slightly longer on the males. A closer look would reveal annual growth rings. Both sexes and the young are colored alike.
Length: up to 5.5 feet, (165cm) including a 6.5 inch tail (165mm).
Height: at the shoulder 3 - 3.5 feet (91-107cm)
Weight: 100 - 300 pounds (45-135 kg)
Their habitat is rocky crags near the snowline. On steep slopes and benches along cliffs; usually at or above timberline. Look! I see some coming now. From up on that rocky crag. No way they can get down that nearly vertical stone wall!
|(Click on any photo to enlarge)|