WATCH: Mountain Goats Defy the Laws of Physics to Evade Grizzly Bear

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Galen Rowell/Corbis via Getty Images)

A hungry grizzly bear was left, well, hungry after a pair of gravity-defying mountain goats descended the side of a dangerously narrow cliff face to avoid becoming the predator’s lunch. Check out the goats’ evasive tactics in the viral clip below.

The three-minute video doesn’t capture much action—fortunately for the mountain goats. Most of the clip sees the grizzly bear pacing along the cliff’s edge. While pacing, he tries to navigate the terrain in order to reach his meal. In the end, he accepts that lunch is out of reach, located in too dangerous of a spot to attempt. Instead, he wanders back up the mountain, leaving the pair of goats to scale the rock faces themselves.

Meanwhile, the mother goat and her kid patiently outwit and out-wait the grizzly bear. In the clip, we see the mother stamping its hoof repeatedly, perhaps as a warning to the hungry bruin.

Viewers, commenting on the YouTube clip, shared their amazement at the mountain goats’ agility. One viewer responded, “My experience with goats is they don’t put [themselves] in a position [too] often that [they] can’t escape from. To me it looked like they were ready to go but the Nanny was stomping her foot to scare the bear. If you have ever spent any time with them you would be amazed where they can go[,] even the young ones.”

A second commenter added, “We don’t give animals enough credit. The bear is clearly aware of the falling hazard, and the goat nanny is aware that bears can be driven off by loud sounds. The nanny is not trying to break the rock, it’s making a ruckus to scare off the bear.”

Glacier National Park Mountain Goats Clash with Resident Bighorn Sheep Over Salt Licks

Instead of hungry grizzly bears, mountain goats in Glacier National Park are facing an entirely different problem. And it’s one that’s resulted in a clash with the park’s resident bighorn sheep.

Due to rapid climate change, Glacier National Park’s most iconic feature, its glaciers, is disappearing. As a result, these receding glaciers are revealing previously inaccessible salt licks. These licks are an important source of nutrients for both the park’s bighorn sheep and mountain goats.

Glacier National Park’s salt licks are important for its wildlife population because they give way to certain necessary minerals that animals don’t typically receive from their everyday food sources. As such, competition for access is great. And experts were surprised to find in the battle for these licks, the park’s mountain goats most commonly prevailed.

Ecologist Forest P. Hayes says that it’s likely the mountain goats are winning this prominent competition as these creatures are much more aggressive than their similarly-sized adversary the bighorn sheep. As such, Hayes added, “As we’re seeing potential shifts in resource availability and increases in scarcity, it’s increasingly likely that [these clashes are] going to happen more often.”