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Rupicapra tragus

Family: Bovidae
Sub-Family: Caprinae

A hoofed goat living in the high slopes of Eastern European mountians, specifically the Alps. It weighs anywhere from 50 - 100 lbs. and is about 2'7" tall. Its horn is black, protruding from the forehead, and the tip bends backwards. Its tail is black and the coat varies, but there are black patches underneath the eyes (on the cheeks) and along its back.

The animal feeds on grasses and herbs along the mountain, and in colder seasons descends to high forests to eat pine shoots. The animal tends to live in herds ranging from 5 to 30 in number. A lookout for the pack gives warning with a whistling sound to alert the others during feeding.

The male marks his territory through a secretion from a gland found behind the horn. He then lays claim to any females within his territory.
'Pregnancy' or gestation lasts 24 weeks and produces one child. The animal has been hunted for its meat, leather and sport. Some chamois are now considered endangered and are protected in the Swiss National Park.

Cham"ois, n. [F. chamois, prob. fr. OG. gamz, G. gemse.]

1. Zool.

A small species of antelope (Rupicapra tragus), living on the loftiest mountain ridges of Europe, as the Alps, Pyrenees, etc. It possesses remarkable agility, and is a favorite object of chase.


A soft leather made from the skin of the chamois, or from sheepskin, etc.; -- called also chamois leather, and chammy or shammy leather. See Shammy.


© Webster 1913.

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