Despite their generally slow movement and large body mass, ibex climb with great ease and agility up the slopes of the Alps. They have an excellent sense of balance that helps them navigate constantly changing terrain. The males have long horns that can grow up to 3 feet long, increasing in length each year. Researchers can use the rings at the back of male ibex horns to determine their exact age.
Females have smaller horns with annual rings closer together, making it difficult to determine their age. Males and females live separately from each other, with horn length and strength determining the order in the male hierarchy. One lead female holds the dominant position in a female herd, but leadership is not determined by the same characteristics as for males. Both male and female herds migrate long distances from summer to winter ranges. Their rutting season begins in December but posturing and rivalry can begin as early as the summer months. Both males and females gather at common areas for the rut.
See the Swiss Alps & Eastern Alps on These Adventures
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