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Recreating Nature Indoors

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Mountain goat

Oreamnos americanus (de Blainville, 1816)

Mountain goat diorama in the North American Mammal Hall


 Finger Mountain, Alaska


 R. F. McClellan

Mountain goats congregate in large groups during the winter and early spring but form smaller groups or are solitary for the rest of the year.

Mountain goats dig 1-2 foot deep "bedding depressions" in which they rest at midday and night. They also dust bathe in these depressions to remove parasites and shedding skin or hair.

Individuals of this very agile species can occasionally be found foraging in high mountain meadows. Mountain goats spend the majority of their time, however, on steep rocky cliff faces and talus slopes where they are safe from predators.  To move about this treacherous terrain, mountain goats have powerful forelimbs for climbing and braking and rough-textured hoof pads that provide superb traction.  Their white coat is long and shaggy to provide extra warmth during the cold winter months, and is replaced with a shorter fur in the summer. 

There is little size difference between males and females and both sexes have short, black, slightly curved horns.

Mountain goats do not engage in head-to-head combat, but aggressive behavior is common between adult males during the breeding season. 

Predators of the mountain goat include: puma, bobcat, coyote, grizzly bear, and the Golden Eagle.

Biological Information

Range map for the Mountain goat


High mountains: Alaska, western Canada, Washington, and Idaho; introduced into Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and South Dakota


Open country with steep rocky cliffs, scree slopes, and meadows in which to forage


Mostly unaffected by humans because of their remote habitat. They have been reintroduced in some states


Leaves, grasses, sedges, moss, lichens

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for mountain goat.