Nubian Ibex have a unique structure in the anklebones and hooves that provide extra help with climbing. Their graceful horns complement their compact body and short yet powerful slender legs, giving them an elegant appearance. Nubian Ibex have distinctive black and white markings on their legs. Males stand approximately 30 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 150 lbs. Females usually weigh less than 100 lbs, sporting the elegant horns without the distinctive knurls found on the horns of males. Males and females both have a “goatee” which is a wooly beard. Their coats change color and texture seasonally.
The male Ibex is best known for the two large horns that sweep back from its head over its back. Large knots, more accurately known as knurls, form defined ridges across the horns. Notice the definition of the knurls on the horns one of the males in the herd.
Smaller than the males, the female Ibex of most sub-species do not show knurls on their horns. However, there are indentions on the horns. Better quality females have prominent ridges.
Horns: The horns on young Ibex grow rapidly and become useful tools as the young learn to define and defend their territory and breeding rights. In adulthood, the size and shape of the horns has proven to be a good indicator of overall animal health. The body and all its systems must be strong to support large, well-formed horns. Forty-eight-inch horns are common but can grow to much large sizes on exceptional animals.
Behaviors: Ibex are social animals, forming family groups that last through generations. One male can breed to several females, creating multiple family groups that form around the maternal lineage. Family groups will join to form herds, yet they can be found separating back into the smaller family groups for activities of daily life such as feeding and resting. There is great gentleness displayed by the mothers as they help their kids to take their first steps only
minutes after birth.
“It is really rewarding to raise these animals to the point where you can see a grandmother, mother, granddaughter and her new set of twins all resting on rock ledges together. They even seem to position themselves in the group in such a way as to show respect for the eldest member of the family.”
– David Meeks