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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Alpine Ibex Facts You’ll Never Forget

Alpine ibex Facts are fun and fascinating

Alpine ibex capra is a sure-footed wild goat that lives in the steep rocky Italian alps. They belong to the Animalia kingdom, under the class Mammalia, and Capra genus. They are found in the mountains of Asia, Europe, and Northeastern Africa.  The main countries where they are found are Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, and Austria. They prefer rocky mountains and cliffs to settle down in and can live in places with an elevation of 3,200 meters. In the morning, the male ibex is found near rocky cliffs while the female is found near bushy areas. In earlier times, these animals were hunted for sport, thus severely decreasing their numbers. In the 19th century, the proper protection of these wild animals started which resulted in an increase in their numbers.  Their predators are mainly golden eagles, wolves, bears, and foxes. These animals are herbivores and eat mainly grasses, leaves, shrubs. They are active during the afternoon, feed through the evening, into the night in the forest, and come back to their rocky cliffs in the morning.

These wild goats are different from domestic goats as they are more aggressive, have larger horns, and are better equipped to stand the harsh Italian alps. The wild goats are a sexually dimorphic species with curved horns and furry coats which range from brown to grey in color.

These animals have a lifespan of about 10-18 years of age while those in captivity stay alive up to 20-21 year. The oldest known ibex was 21 years and three months old. They live in packs but in different segments. The males are found in packs of six to eight while the females are found in packs of 10-12. During mating season, however, the males become aggressive towards each other and live in solitude.

Their breeding season is usually around fall. During this time, the males become very aggressive and fight among themselves. After the breeding season, the gestation period lasts about 147-180 days. They usually give birth to one offspring and in very rare occasions, two. The babies are called kids and they are very jumpy during their initial stages and can even climb hills with their mother after one day of their birth. The mothers provide milk for the kids just like other mammals.  

Some of the ibex species closely related to the Alpine ones are the Nubian Ibex Capra, the Spanish Ibex Capra, Iberian Ibex, and the Abyssinian Ibex. The scientific names of these species are as such; the Capra Nubiana (Nubian ibex), Capra Pyrenaica (Spanish ibex),  Capra pyrenaica (Iberian Ibex), and the Capra Walie (Abyssinian ibex).

Alpine Ibex Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Alpine ibex?

The alpine Ibex Capra is a species of mountain goat.

What class of animal does an Alpine ibex belong to?

The Alpine ibex belongs to the class of mammals.

How many Alpine ibexes are there in the world?

According to IUCN reports, today, the total population of Alpine ibexes stands at 30,000.

Where does an Alpine ibex live?

The Alpine ibex lives near the snow-clad mountains. They prefer the cold and adjust their living area based on seasons.

What is an Alpine ibex's habitat?

Alpine ibex prefers a cold region as their habitat. They stay up to an elevation of 3,200 meters. The female Alpine ibex stay below bushy areas or rolling slopes during the day. The male ibex prefers to stay on rocky cliffs during the day. At night both the male and female ibex prefer to go into the forest to feed. During winter they settle in medium elevations. As the weather becomes warmer they ascend, following the receding snowline and settle at the highest points. They spend the summer, spring, and autumn seasons in this region.

Who do Alpine ibexes live with?

Alpine ibexes do live in packs but have different groups. The females live together in a herd of about 10-20 females with one dominant female. The males on the other hand prefer living in smaller groups of six to eight. The males start rutting around fall when they become aggressive towards each other and prefer living on their own. Some males however live in solitude their entire lifespan.

How long does an Alpine ibex live?

The average lifespan of an Alpine ibex is from 10-18 years. In captivity, however, they tend to live up to almost 20-21 years of age. The highest recorded lifespan of an Alpine ibex is 21 years and three months.

How do they reproduce?

Alpine ibex prefer polygynous reproduction. Their breeding season comes once a year around fall and gives just one or on very rare occasions two offspring each year. The male ibex compete in fighting competitions in order to win over a group of females. The winner of this competition gets to breed with a group of 10-12 female Alpine ibexes. The gestation period lasts from 147-180 days. The female ibex provides milk for her young just like other mammals. The young ibexes are able to walk just after a day of their birth. The young mature by 8-12 months and breed after two to three years of age.  

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Alpine ibex is Least Concern. Their mating and reproduction programs allow them to breed occasionally leading to sustainable populations.

Alpine Ibex Fun Facts

What do Alpine ibexes look like?

Alpine ibexes are sexually dimorphic and bilaterally symmetrical. The male ibex range from 35-40 in  in height at the shoulder while the females are around 29-33 in. The male ibex weighs almost 148-258 lb and the females weigh 37-71 lb. Both have a length of 1.3-1.4 m and a tail length of 120-150 cm. Their coats are made of fur with varying colors from brown to grey. They also have very thick beards. The underside of the Northern Alpine ibex is darker than that of the Southern Alpine ibex. Both of them have huge curved horns which form semi-circles and knobby rings which are used for sexual selection and territorial defense.

Capra ibex are generally wild goats

How cute are they?

The Alpine ibex are not considered typically cute due to their rugged, wild exterior but their thick beards add a charming appeal.

How do they communicate?

Male ibexes use scent in order to communicate during mating season. They spread this scent through their beards which attracts and excites the females.

How big is an alpine ibex?

The Alpine ibexes are large in size, with the males having a shoulder length of about 25-41 in and 25-27.5 in for females. Their horns have a length of about 27-39 in.

How fast can an Alpine ibex run?

An Alpine ibex can jump up to 6 ft or 1.8 m at one go without even running.

How much does an Alpine ibex weigh?

The male Alpine ibex weighs around 148-258 lb while the female Alpine ibex weighs around 37-71 lb.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The alpine goats are known as male and female Alpine ibex. The young Capra ibex is known as a kid till it reaches maturity at 8-12 months.

What would you call a baby Alpine ibex?

A baby Alpine ibex is called a kid. The offspring are generally jumping right after birth and can even climb mountains after a day of their birth.

What do they eat?

The Alpine ibexes are herbivores. They mainly eat leaves, grasses, bark, and shoots. They migrate during spring in search of new feeding areas in the mountains. They migrate to the lower southern regions during winter to get better access to food and less snow. They mainly become active during the afternoon and evening, feed through the night in the forest, and return to the rocky cliffs by morning.

Are they aggressive?

Alpine ibexes are generally not aggressive. But during mating season, the male ibexes become aggressive towards each other and engage in competitions to gain breeding rights of the female herds.

Would they make a good pet?

Alpine ibexes do not make a good pet. While Alpine ibexes are rarely kept in captivity, they are better off in the wild mountains. They need the moderately cold climate and rugged terrains to survive in a healthy manner.

Did you know...

At one time, the Alpine ibex was restricted to only the Maurienne Valley in France and the Gran Paradiso National Park in Italy. Now they have spread across the Alps covering countries like Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Austria.

How do Alpine ibex adapt to their environment?

Alpine ibex goats have furry coats which help them to withstand the cold habitat they live in. The Alpine ibex climb is a wonderful sight. The Alpine ibex mountain goats have sharp-edged hooves that make them incredible rock climbers. These specially designed hooves allow them to jump from one cliff to the other, helping them adapt themselves to their rugged habitat. The Alpine ibex fall is rare due to their special hooves.

At what times of the day do Alpine ibex eat?

Alpine ibex goat has a very distinguished food schedule. They are active during the afternoon, feed through the evening, and go into the forest to feed at night. They again return to their rocky cliffs in the morning.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Alpine ibex coloring pages.

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