Mountain Goat Winter Habitat

in winter wind creates an island of bare ground in snowy alpine for a herd of mountain goats. The herd stays In an area 200 meters wide and less than one kilometer long for six months of winter. They survive on the alpine plants growing under the snow so the snow has to be shallow enough to enable the goats to paw for feed. if a predator approaches, the goats move to steep escape terrain nearby. As spring approaches, the goats can leave their winter ridge to roam the entire mountain. By mid-October when snow returns, the herd will move back to their winter ridge once more.
most mountain goats spend their entire lives on the mountain where they were born in summer the herd travels back and forth across their home mountain to feed on grasses flowering plants and sedges mountain goats cannot run as fast as a wolf or bear.

So they risk ambush if they feed and open alpine meadows more than 200 metres from steep cliffs where predators dare not follow if goats spot a predator they will climb onto steep escape terrain until the predator gives up the chase and leaves then the goats climb off the steep cliffs and resume feeding.

In the rough ground of the Alpine there's always a chance of injury these mountain goats share the Alpine with a bear cub and a Wolverine the goats are always curious about our remote cameras sometimes they stand just too close.

this Ridge is the winter home for a small herd of nine mountain goats the goats feed in the area about 200 meters wide and less than a kilometer long the goats escape for many predators by climbing down into the steep rocky escape terrain the ridge faces south for maximum sun.

Exposure and warmth in winter this mountain goat herd will stay in their small winter home from mid-october until April roughly half the calendar year for nutrition they depend on dry grasses brush and lichens under the snow and their body fat accumulated in summer and fall they can lose up to 27% of their body weight over the winter wind is.

Vital it scours the snow on the ridge down to bare ground exposing plants the goats feed on mountain goats have short legs and they can easily be high centered and floundering in the deep soft snow surrounding their winter Ridge winter habitat for mountain goats is literally an island in a sea of deep soft snow mountain goats returns at the.

Same ridge every winter year after year a predator may cause the goats to move into their escape train for a couple of hours but any sustained displacement of the herd may force them to abandon their best winter habitat if displaced the herd can suffer exhaustion from traveling through deep snow to new habitat more they may starve.

If there is not enough feed available at the alternate site Mountain goeth spend a lot of time in the small confines of their winter home they urinate and defecate and all that waste material provides nutrients for the grasses and forbs during the next growing season in turn that rich plant growth and summer provides more feed for.

The goats under the snow the following winter in this way mountain goats create their own winter pasture and their chosen Ridge is especially fertile and suited to keep the herd well-fed and healthy all winter in late spring the snow melts and the herd abandons their winter Ridge until the first snowfall in October when the herd moves back to.

Their favorite Ridge to survive the winter

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Mountain Goat Winter Habitat