Females are called nannies and males are called,
you guessed it, billies. Offspring are called Kids. Billy Goats
weigh up to 200 pounds and have a thick fleecy undercoat covered
by a shaggy whitish coat that is 6 inches deep. The thick coat
ends at the knee giving the appearance of pantaloons! When the
tourists arrive in the spring the animals may be in their fleecy
shortened summer coat. Goats stand 3 feet at the shoulder and
average 6 feet in length. Mouth, eyes, nose and hooves are pitch
black. Both sexes may dawn a beard and this feature, horn as
well as the hump on the back easily distinguish them from the
Bighorn Sheep. Tail is short as are the legs and the ears are
|Best places to see Goats include Goats and Glaciers
Viewpoint where a salt lick attracts the animals (on the Icefields
Parkway 35 kilometers south of Jasper). Also Sunwapta Gorge, Athabasca
Falls and several other spots along the Icefields Parkway. Look
for them at the East entrance to Jasper Park and near Cascade
Mountain (West of Banff). They are more
commonly seen on the Eastern slopes of the Rockies (British Columbia).
Watch for clumps of white hair stuck to shrubs and trees but only
at the higher elevations that goats love.
Rutting Season antics. Mountain Goats do display
the characteristic comic displays of males in many species
but this is confined to the application of urine soaked mud,
aggressive threats and very occasional horn saber fights with
other males. Not as odd the the mating antics of humans
Nannies bear single "kids" or occasionally twins
6 to 9 pounds after a winter of eating shrubs (sounds like
a plot for a new movie?).
Mountain climbers can only stare in awe at the
amazing feats of mountain goats. No animal on Earth is as agile!
can tell the age of a Mountain Goat. Just grab the animal
by the horns (just kidding) and count the rings on the
horn (similar to a tree). Horns car grow 2 inches per
year. Females have a crooked edged horn (to the back)
where the mails have a gently curving horns. Similar
to Bighorn Sheep the horns are mostly ornamental.
Goats love steep and dangerous slopes. Predators
fear of heights is the goats best defense. Their stocky bodies,
short legs and specially adapted claws make them expert climbers
in the steep cliffs, windy crags and high elevations. Front
and back legs are close together. Possibly the greatest enemy
of the goat (they rarely lose balance) are avalanches and
snowslides with any unfortunate victims being eaten at the
bottom by bears or other carnivores. Goats eat any vegetation
they can find including lichen, grasses, rushes, flowers,
conifer browse, tourists and shrubs. What a tasty salad, eh?
Because food is scarce on mountain cliffs goats are somewhat
Goats and Sheep (above) will come down from the safety
of cliffs and steep inclines for water and food.
looking to make a meal of goats include bear, the mountain
lion and wolf. Rarely, the young may be attacked by
eagles, lynx and wolverines. Human hunters avoid the
animals as their meat has a musky taint which is not