Mountain Goat Mt Evans

A mountain goat (Oreamous americansu) stands on a rocky ledge set against a hazy series of mountains as a storm rolls in on Mount Evans, Colorado.

By: Dawn Wilson

This week’s featured animal is the mountain goat. Mountain goats are a common but non-native animal in Colorado’s high country. In 1947, Colorado Parks and Wildlife introduced mountain goats at four sites in central and southern Colorado: Mount Evans, the Needle Mountains, the Ragged Mountains, the Gore Range and Sawatch Range. Mountain goats are not commonly seen in Rocky Mountain National Park. Here are five more facts about these furry mammals.

Mountain Goat_GTNP

A mountain goat (Oreamous americanus) stands on a rocky cliff on a sunny afternoon in the Snake River Canyon outside of Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

1. Mountain goats are not true goats but rather more closely related to antelope and gazelles.

Mountain Goat Mt Evans

A close up shot of a mountain goat hoof (Oreamos americanus) showing the two-toed feature that helps them grip onto rocky ledges on Mount Evans in Colorado.

2. These denizens of the tundra have cloven hooves with toes that spread wide and rough, rubbery soles to help them grip the rocky terrain.

Mountain Goat Mt Evans

A mountain goat kid (Oreamos americanus) runs across some rocks and snow on Mount Evans in Colorado.

3. Female goats are called nannies, baby mountain goats are called kids, and males are called billies.

4. Newborn mountain goats can walk, run and leap within hours of birth.

Mountain Goat RMNP

A rare sighting of a mountain goat (Oreamous americanus) just after sunset in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

5. You can differentiate male and female mountain goats by their horns. The horns on males are thicker throughout the length, have an even curvature along entire horn length, and sit slightly wider than the eyes. Female horns are thinner, have a more dramatic horn curve, and have more space between the bases.

Dawn Wilson is a professional and award-winning nature photographer who lives in Estes Park year-round. You can see more of her work, join one of her Rocky tours, and purchase prints and calendars at DawnWilsonPhotography.com or follow her on Instagram: @dawnwilsonphoto.

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