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These large animals have a shaggy whitish coat, short curved black horns and powerful limbs. Their hooves have a hard rim, but a soft, tennis-shoe like sole, all the better to grip slippery rock surfaces in the cliffs they inhabit. In late fall, these animals grow incredibly warm coat of hair and survive bone-numbing temperatures and high winds for a very long winter.
Mountain goats typically live high above the treelines in mountains. They prefer steep, rocky cliffs where they find refuge from large carnivores such as bears and mountain lions.
These animals are amazing mountaineers. They will climb out onto a rock face gripping tiny rock protrusions and nibble on tiny plants and lichens. A misstep could send them hurtling thousands of feet, yet they are seemingly at ease with heights and precarious footholds. They leave me, sometimes, gasping and sweaty-palmed.