The Nubian ibex is a desert-dwelling goat species found in mountainous areas of northern and northeast Africa, and the Middle East. It is the only ibex species adapted to life in the hot, arid regions of the world.
They live on rocky, desert mountains with steep slopes and hills, with associated plateaus, canyons, and ravines. They are found in small pockets over a vast geographical range, including Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Oman.
Their body coat is a light sandy brown color, with a white underbelly, while the legs display noticeable black-and-white markings. Bucks have a dark stripe down the back, and older males grow a long, dark beard. During the October rut, the neck, chest, sides, shoulders, and upper legs of the bucks become dark brown to almost black in color.
They stand around 2–2.5 ft. tall at the shoulder and weigh around 55-145 lbs., the males being relatively larger than the females.
This relatively small ibex is distinguished by the striking, backward-arching horns of the male, which are long, slender, and marked with 24-36 knobby ridges. They can grow to impressive lengths of up to 4 feet! Female horns, on the other hand, are thinner and shorter, and grow anywhere from 5-14 inches.
Nubian ibex spend their time in steep mountainous terrain and are very well adapted to dry climates. They are nimble runners on rocks and slopes but are slow on flat ground. Their shiny coat reflects harsh sunlight and solar radiation, an efficient cooling mechanism. They do not like getting wet, so despite their coat being water-proof, they take shelter during severe rainstorms.
These incredibly agile animals move among rocks and open plains to look for grasses, shoots, and leaves, which are their staple diet. They rest occasionally to chew cud and stand on their hind legs to reach foliage of low-hanging vegetation.
Nubian ibex live in herds of up to 20 animals, the offspring staying with their maternal herd for the first three years of life. Breeding season occurs during the late summer or early fall, usually in October. Gestation lasts about five months, and the majority of young are born in March. The usual litter size is just one, but twins have also been documented.
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