Known for its rare, majestic horns that are curled like a corkscrew, the intriguing Markhor is our animal of the day!
Markhors are the largest goat species. They’re mostly found in Central Asia, where they’re called “mountain monarchs” for being able to survive harsh mountain environments.
While it’s easy to distinguish between males and females (as males have longer hair on their chests, shanks, and chin), both sexes have spiral-like corns that are tightly coiled at the head but expand upwards to the tips.
Habitat and Lifestyle
Markhors are active only in the early mornings and late afternoons. Throughout spring and summer, they graze. Markhors stop grazing and switch to browsing in winter, occasionally standing on their back legs to reach tree leaves. They live in flocks of around 8 to 10 animals on average. These flocks are made up of mature females and their offspring. Adult males spend the majority of their time alone.
Diet and Nutrition
Markhors are herbivorous animals (graminivorous/folivores). They eat a variety of leaves, grasses, bushes, and twigs.
Facts About Markhors
- Markhors have three subspecies—the straight-horned markhor, the bukharan markhor, and the flare-horned markhor.
- They’re Pakistan’s national animal.
- Like most of their cousins, markhors prefer to dwell on mountain ridges.
- The males use their horns for fighting in battle in order to win mates.
- Unfortunately, the IUCN listed all subspecies of markhors as endangered. Today, the total population of wild markhors is estimated to be between 3,000 and 5,000.