The nimble chamois are well suited to the harsh terrain of the mountain ranges they inhabit. They are prodigious runners, capable of reaching speeds of 50 kilometres per hour on uneven ground, and daring leapers that can jump almost two metres in height and at least six metres in length (2). While in the summer months, chamois can feed on a relatively plentiful diet of herbs and flowers, during winter they turn to lichens, mosses and young pine shoots, and are able to survive for up to two weeks without food when snow blankets any sources of sustenance (2). Female chamois with their young generally live in herds of 15 to 30 individuals. Herds are believed to post 'sentinels' that warn the other members of the herd of any danger by stomping their feet and calling with a high-pitched whistle. Adult males live on their own for most of the year, but join the herds in late summer, in time for the autumn rut. During the rut, often in November, old, strong males drive the younger males away from the herd, and occasionally kill them (2). Following mating, and after a 170 day gestation period, females separate themselves from the herd to give birth in May and June. Females usually bear a single kid, giving birth in a shelter of grass and lichens. The kids are able to follow their mother immediately after they are born and are weaned after just two to three months. While female kids may remain with their mother's herds, young males leave the herd at the age of two or three. They then have a nomadic existence until they reach full maturity, at the age of eight or nine, when they become attached to a definite area (2).
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