The chamois

Camoscio

  • Length: circa 120 cm
  • Height: about 70 – 80 cm
  • Weight: 25 – 45 kg

The chamois has a short head with rather large eyes, straight back, thin, curved hook-shaped horns  (in males they can measure from 22 to 30 cm). The horns in males are more robust, they have a larger diameter and they are also more divergent with more pronounced hooks. Chamois are diurnal animals. In case of danger they whistle, making a bleat or some sort of bark. It has a very fine sense of smell and  very acute sight and hearing.
It is extraordinarily agile and able to move even on steep and uncomfortable slopes. It has a strong resistance and can overcome in a short time important differences in levels. The average lifespan of chamois  is from 15 to 20 years, rarely up to 25.

To recognize the sex of chamois under one year is impossible, from one to two years is difficult and only when they are older than two years you can be sure of their sex.

The female body structure appears more slender and less muscular, males instead are more squat and square, their chest is larger and in general the muscles are more developed. The female neck is thin and long, even the nose appears longer. In males instead the neck is wide and short and the muzzle is short and stocky, especially in winter coat they have the mane, while the females do not have it.

The chamois is a typical high mountains animal and it is popular both in the woods and more often on the high bare slopes, beyond the tree line. It is widespread throughout the Alps. Like many other animals, during summer they live at high altitudes, whereas during winter they go down to look for food. They feed mainly on herbaceous plants, especially grasses and legumes, avoiding as much as possible to ingest the essences with higher fiber content.

During winter they feed primarily on leaves and twigs of shrubs, resinous plants needles and lichens. In spring and summer, they convert their diet in twigs of grass, leaves and twigs of shrubs.

Chamois eats about 3.2 kg of green fodder per day, during six nutrition phases, it reaches sexual maturity after about two and a half years and the breeding season is from October to December. Pregnancy lasts about six months, but from each childbirth which is usually in March comes a cub that is suckled for about six months.

The chamois lives in groups made up of females with cubs and few males that remain largely isolated or in small flocks.

The main predator for the chamois is the eagle that only captures the babies.