Mountain goats and bighorn sheep are two ungulate species commonly found in the mountainous regions of North America. Both species are known for their agility and endurance in rocky terrain, making them well-suited to life in the mountains. However, there are also several key differences between these two species, including their physical characteristics, habitat and distribution, behavior, and diet.
One of the most obvious ways to tell mountain goats and bighorn sheep apart is by their physical characteristics. Mountain goats are known for their large, curved horns, white, shaggy coat, black horns and nose, and stocky build. On the other hand, bighorn sheep are known for their large, curved horns, brown, short hair coat, light-colored horns and nose, and sleek and slender build.
Habitat and Distribution:
When it comes to habitat and distribution, mountain goats are found in the Rocky Mountains and other mountainous regions of North America. They typically live above the tree line at high elevations and can survive in snowy and icy conditions. On the other hand, Bighorn sheep are found in the deserts and mountainous regions of North America. They live at lower elevations than mountain goats and can survive in arid and semi-arid conditions.
Behavior and Diet:
In terms of behavior, mountain goats live in small herds led by a dominant male. They are known for their agility and ability to climb steep and rocky terrain. They are herbivorous and primarily eat grasses and lichens. Bighorn sheep live in larger herds and are known for their agility and endurance in rocky terrain. They are also herbivorous, primarily eating grasses and forbs.
Similarities and Differences:
While there are many differences between mountain goats and bighorn sheep, there are also several similarities between these two species. Both mountain goats and bighorn sheep are known for their agility and endurance in rocky terrain. They both have large, curved horns and are members of the Caprinae subfamily. Additionally, both species are herbivorous, primarily eating grasses and other vegetation.
Sarah Lane has been a farm wife since 2010 and mother of two children for nearly as long. She and her husband, Jonathan, live on a small farm in Texas where they raise dairy goats and beef cattle as well as chickens for eggs and meat. In addition to growing their own hay, straw and garden produce, the Lane family works with other nearby farms to source organic grain from which they make artisan bread sold at local farmer’s market.