Climbing a mountain is no small feat. Climbers have been conquering great mountains for years, such as Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Mount Fuji, to name a few. To be able to say that you have climbed one of these mountains is truly something to be proud of.
Those climbers brave enough to withstand the cold, heat, and death-defying heights all have one thing in common: survival gear. You’ll never see someone climbing Mount Everest in casual clothes. It is impossible to survive a climb without the appropriate gear that is needed such as a rope, food, protective clothes, fire, shelter, and so much more.
This rule applies to almost everyone except for the animals that not only successfully climb mountains but thrive and survive by living on the sides of a mountain. The mountain goat is one of those animals.
Check Out the Video Below!
Mountain Goats Climb Vertically
The Situation in the Video
In the video below, a mountain goat and her young baby, a kid, are climbing vertically on the side of a dam. Once you see this stone wall, it is astonishing to think that an animal could have the grip to not only stay in one place without falling but be able to progress and climb across or up the side of the wall without ever falling.
The young kid is following its mother close behind. Watching her every move and every foot placement ensures it does exactly what she is doing so the kid does not fall either. Every few steps, the mother will pause and wait for her kid to ensure it is coming along the best it can.
How Soon Does a Kid Mountain Goat Learn to Climb?
If there is one thing about the wild, it is that young cubs, calves, and kids learn how to survive on their own at an astoundingly early age.
From the time they are born, mountain goats begin to learn the skills they need to climb mountains. They are able to stand and walk within a few hours of being born, and they are usually climbing on rocks and ledges within a few days.
They follow their mothers up steep cliffs and craggy peaks, learning how to navigate the terrain and build their strength. Then, just a few weeks after birth, they already have the skills they need to be mostly independent.
Do Mountain Goats Ever Fall?
One of the biggest questions ever asked when it comes to researching mountain goats is whether mountain goats ever fall.
First of all, mountain goats are not actually goats. They are the only species in their family and are more closely related to antelopes and gazelles than domestic goats. That may explain why mountain goats aren’t just like any other animal with paws. Mountain goats have hooves that are split in two and designed for climbing. This gives them the flexibility to be able to grip tightly and move their hooves around as they move along.
While extremely rare, mountain goats can fall. This is mostly due to fighting between males during mating season. These intense fights are just what you’d imagine—a lot of head-butting, ramming, and aggression. While most mountain goats can successfully fight on the side of a mountain without falling, some fights do end in a mountain goat losing its footing.
Is It Normal Behavior for a Mountain Goat to Climb So Steeply?
Yes! Mountain goats are specially equipped to be able to climb straight up even the most vertical walls as long as there is enough roughness for them to get a toe-hold.
Mountain goats have cloven, or split, hooves. This means that each hoof, instead of being one solid piece, is actually two separate toes that they can wiggle and maneuver independently. With this dexterity, they can better grip onto rocks and ledges.
Their hooves are hard on the outside and soft on the inside. The hard outer layer protects their toes from being scraped on the rocks. The softer, inner, rubbery pads have a concave shape which not only allows them to grip the rocks better but can also act like a suction cup, providing additional traction.
Mountain goats also have sharp dewclaws on their inner toes. These dewclaws help them to grip the rocks even tighter and prevent them from slipping.
In addition, mountain goats have very strong shoulder and neck muscles. Their shoulder muscles help them to lock their front legs in place while they pull the rest of the body up to a higher ledge. Their neck muscles allow them to boost their propulsion power with careful control of their center of balance.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © AndreAnita/Shutterstock.com
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