The Alpine Ibex lives in the European Alps. The habitat of this excellent climber is the rocky region along the snowline above alpine forests of the European Alps.
Female ibexes are usually only half the size of males. Both sexes have long horns, but the males can develop impressive lengths of up to 1 meter. Older males tend to grow beards under their chin.
Ibexes use their horns to defend themselves from wolves, lynxes, bears and foxes. Also, they remain at higher altitudes during the bright daylight hours (they go down to eat during the early morning and in the evening) so to be better protected from predators who do not inhabit such high terrain. In the winter, however, ibexes tend to live at lower altitudes since food is harder to find. They eat moss, flowers, leaves and twigs.
Toward the beginning of the 20th century the Alpine Ibex was nearly hunted to extinction with only a small group surviving in Italys Gran Paradiso National Park. Nowadays they are protected by law and have been reintroduced across the Alps.
The Latin name of this animal is Capricorn. (There is a Zodiac sign with that name.)
The picture of this Alpine ibex was taken at the Artis zoo of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in July 2005.
Life on Earth