The Ibex is a kind of goat, sometimes referred to as a Rock Goat – for good reason as you’ll see shortly.
It resembles the common goat, but is larger, and it lives in places where you would think no animal could get to without falling and breaking its neck. They are sometimes frightening to watch, climbing up rough and narrow crevices and jumping from rock to rock with amazing dexterity.
The Ibex has an unusually small hoof, something like those of a sheep, except that its hollow underneath, and has a sort of ridge around it the animal uses to cling to precarious rock outcroppings, without slipping. They are extraordinarily graceful and nimbly navigate the sheer cliffs of their native habitat seemingly without any fear of falling.
Two goats occasionally meet on a high narrow path, with just room for one, above a dizzyingly shear drop high on a cliff face. They cannot retreat without the danger of falling, and they can’t pass each other either. For a while they seem to quietly consider their options, but at last one bends its knees and lays down, while the other walks safely over his back to safety on the other side.
The ibex feeds during the night in the high woods. But as soon as the sun rises, it begins to climb, eating grass, or whatever it finds, until it reaches spaces high above the timberline. They roam in small groups of eight or ten, and lie down in sunny places among the rocks; but about three or four o’clock in the afternoon, they begin to migrate back down again towards the woods. They are built to climb more easily than they can get down, because their fore legs are shorter than the others.
Check out the video clip to see this amazing animal’s death-defying daily routine – even out-maneuvering a dangerous natural predator in the nick of time!