The Ibex is a species of wild mountain goat that have huge back-curving horns. The horns on a male ibex can grow to be 70 – 140 centimetres (28 – 55 inches) in length. Female horns are slightly shorter, thinner and curve slightly more backwards. Horns are used to defend themselves against predators.
Ibexes are found on craggy terrains between the timber and snow lines above the alpine forests of the European Alps. Ibexes tend to occupy steep, rocky habitats at elevations of between 6,500 – 15,000 feet (2,000 – 4,600 metres). The ibexes have a unique hoof structure making it an excellent climber on steep rocks.
Ibexes are herbivores and rely mainly on grass, flowers, twigs and moss to survive. Ibex also often stand on their hind legs to reach leaves and shoots from trees. They come down from their steep habitats during late afternoon and evenings to the alpine meadows below to feed. However, in the winter, ibexes tend to live at lower altitudes when food is more scarce. During the summer, ibexes need to drink water every other day and therefore seek regions where there is a dependable water source.
Ibexes are diurnal and live in bachelor groups in herds of 10 – 20 individuals. These male and female herds will only join together during the mating season.