Although called a goat, mountain goats are actually a member of the animal family that includes cows, antelope and gazelles. Its genus, Oreamnos, roughly translates to “mountain lamb”, which makes sense given the high altitude at which these animals live. Found exclusively in the high mountain ranges of western North America, mountain goats are excellent climbers that spend most of their time at elevations of up to 13,000 feet; far out of the range of most predators.
Due to their imposing size and the high altitudes at which they live, mature mountain goats are not easy prey. Though they do have to be wary of wolves, cougars, and bears, especially when traveling between peaks at lower altitudes, the biggest threat of predation comes from golden eagles, which have been known to attack young goat kids. Mountain goats can and will use their horns to injure or kill large predators or humans that get too close to their kids; however, they are not naturally confrontational animals.