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These 36 Goats On Cliffs Don’t Know What Fear Is

Every single wild animal has a special environmental niche that it occupies to survive, and wild mountain goats have evolved to occupy some of the weirdest and most hard-to-reach ecological niches out there – steep cliff faces.

These goats aren’t crazy – the cliffs they spend most of their lives on confer numerous benefits, including protection from land-bound predators, foraging, and access to mineral licks. The harsh winds that sweep these cliffs clear of snow also expose the hardy grasses that these goats eat as well as the exposed mineral salts that they like to lick.

Some of the goats pictures here are Rocky Mountain goats from the U.S. This species is technically a goat-antelope, but the other goats pictured here, like the alpine ibex or the chamoix, are true goats.

These goats all have special adaptations that allow them to navigate their steep mountainous environments with ease. Unlike a horse’s hoof, their hooves are cloven, meaning that they can spread their weight and grasp the ground. The edges of their hooves are stiff and hard while the centers are softer, allowing them to grip tiny cracks or uneven, rocky surfaces. Some of them even have rough, uneven pads of skin in between their hooves that further help them grip alpine surfaces.

Image credits: Joel Sartore

Image credits: unknown

Image credits: twentytwowords.com

Image credits: Paolo Seimandi

Image credits: Paolo Seimandi

Image credits: Aladdin Shishani

Image credits: Bob Sihler

Image credits: unknown

Image credits: arbroath.blogspot.com

Image credits: Eickholt

Image credits: teagden

Image credits: jasbond007

Image credits: Sandra Leidholdt

Image credits: imgur.com

Image credits: BucketCorrection

Image credits: Joe Wiggins

Image credits: Julie Lubick

Image credits: juliek.org

And if there aren’t any cliffs handy…

Image credits: Mike Mellinger

Image credits: Mike Mellinger

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