Myth

Mountain goats are [true] goats.

Are Mountain Goats Actually Goats?

Mountain goats aren’t goats, these close relatives of the goat are actually goat-antelopes. Oddly, they aren’t true antelopes either.[1][2]

  • True Goats (from the Capra genus) includes wild goats and other goats, including the domesticated goat.
  • Mountain Goats (from the Oreamnos genus) include mountain goats only.
  • Both are from the subfamily Caprinae and the family Bovidae along with sheep, the American buffalo, and domestic cattle.

While true goats and mountain goats share a sub-family, they are a different Genus and species. Despite this being true, it is likely they got their name for the less technical reason, namely, “they look like big goats and live on mountains”.

Mountain Goats Aren’t Actually Goats

Fun Goat and Mountain Goat Facts

  • Mountain goats usually live 12 to 15 years in the wild; their lifespans are usually limited by the wearing down of their teeth in the wild. They can live about 16 – 20 years in a zoo.[3]
  • True goats are among the earliest animals domesticated by humans.[4]
  • The mountain goat’s large rubbery padded hooves and muscular forequarters help them to navigate rocky ledges, while their thick wooly hair helps them stay warm at high cold elevations; the beard isn’t just for good looks, it is functional.
  • Mountain goats have rectangular pupils. This is part of what gives them their great vision.
  • Female mountain goats are aggressive when it comes to protecting their kids, their territory, and their food sources. Males will often fight each other with their horns for the privilege of reproducing with select females.

Mountain Goats – amazing rock climbers



Conclusion

Despite being closely related mountain goats aren’t goats, they are different species called goat-antelopes.


Citations

  1. Mountain Goat
  2. Caprinae
  3. Mountain Goat Facts: Animals Of North America
  4. Breeds of Livestock – Goat Breeds


Vote Fact or Myth: "A Mountain Goat is a Goat"

Your Vote: {{ voteModel || 'no vote' | uppercase }}