A mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) stretches to reach a mineral lick in the Walton area of Glacier National Park in Montana. Wonder how this one performed such a death-defying feat? Very carefully. Mountain goats make their living by taking each step very seriously. Using splayed, rubbery hooves that grip rock surfaces, this female started by placing all four feet on the tiny ledge where her back feet are shown in the photo. She then pushed out and wedged into the crevice using her front hooves to bridge the gap, licking any salt on the rocks around her. To get out, she reversed the procedure, again placing all four feet on the same little ledge, turning around slowly until she could exit, uphill and to the left.
Mountain goat reaching for a salt lick. Photo by Joel Sartore
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