What do mountain goats eat?


Quick Answer

Mountain goats eat small plants, including grasses and mosses that grow in their alpine homes. They may also eat small twigs and needles from coniferous trees. When kept in captivity, they are generally fed a diet of grain, grasses and vegetables. They are true herbivores, eating plants and no meat.

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Full Answer

Mountain goats are related to goats, but they are not true goats. They are close relatives of antelopes, gazelles and cattle. Mountain goats are found throughout the Rocky Mountains in North America and Canada, as well as in the Chugache Mountains of Alaska. They spend most of their time at high altitudes, only descending to lower elevations when food is scarce.

Rough pads on the bottoms of their hooved toes make mountain goats excellent climbers. They are also capable of jumping up to 12 feet in single bound. This allows them to easily navigate the rough terrain in the mountains where they live. Generally weighing between 100 and 300 pounds, mountain goats have long, warm, white coats to protect them from the cold and camouflage with the snow. Females and their young tend to live in herds of up to 20 animals, while male mountain goats typically live alone or in pairs, only joining herds temporarily during mating season.

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