Alpine Ibex
YouTube: BBC

The Nimble Alpine Ibex Scales Sheer Dam Faces Just to Get a Little Salt

The alpine ibex's incredible dam balancing act is a sight to behold.

As we all know, nature can be amazing. It seems like every time we think we have seen it all, we learn about some new animal feat. Take the alpine ibex or Capra ibex as it is known by its scientific name. This may look like your standard domestic goat. However, appearances can be deceiving.

See, these wild goats make their home in the European Alps in places like Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Italy. The ibex you are about to see in this video call the Italian Alps home.

Being a mountain goat, they are extraordinarily talented climbers. In this video from the BBC, they document ibex climbing up the sheer face of a dam in attempt to reach much-needed salt deposits. It's an amazing feat that we wouldn't believe had we not seen the video evidence.

As you saw here, it is amazing to see what animals will do in order to survive. A fall from the top of that dam would probably be fatal for this species of wild goat, but these herbivores risk it to get the calcium they need. It turns out, the ibex's climbing abilities, which developed to help them climb mountains, sometimes well above the snow line, are perfect for climbing a man-made structure. Who would have thought?

The alpine ibex's original home range was Northern Italy, in an area now known as Gran Paradiso National Park. Humans introduced the animal all over the alps where it is often found today. The animals shown in this video were all females. Male ibex grow to longer body lengths and shoulder heights. They also have horns that are much more pronounced than the females, which they use to battle rivals during the breeding season. Speaking of which, about the only time male and female ibex interact is during the rut. The rest of the time, they stay segregated into groups by sex.

We don't know about you, but this video made us nervous just watching it. The ibex may very well be one of the best climbers in the animal kingdom just for this amazing feat alone.

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