Careless hiker risks a sharp horn to the face trying to pet mountain goat

Mountain goat standing on rocky outcrop
(Image credit: Getty)

A hiker has shared a video of herself tempting fate (and risking her fingers) by trying to pet a mountain goat as though it's a pet dog. 

The clip (which you can watch below) was shared on Instagram account touronsofnationalparks, which shows examples of careless behavior at sites of natural beauty in the US. According to the caption, the encounter took place at Rocky Mountain National Park, where the goats are a non-native species. According to the National Park Service (NPS) they are a serious problem, and can spread disease to the native bighorn sheep.

It's policy at Rocky Mountain to euthanize the goats when it's safe to do so, because it's no longer possible to relocate them safely elsewhere in Colorado.

The NPS explains that mountain goats can be particularly dangerous. Their horns are extremely sharp, and whereas most wild animals (such as elk and deer) tend to flee when people are nearby, a mountain goat is more likely to hold its ground, particularly if they're used to humans coming within butting distance.

Males are particularly aggressive during the mating season, which takes place in the fall and early winter, peaking around November.

Mountain goat safety

Mountain goats are particularly fond of salt, so visitors are advised not to leave sweaty gear within easy reach. You might return to find a goat chewing on your shirt, and it won't be pleased to see you. It's also important not to urinate near trails. Instead, the NPS asks hikers to go at least 50 yards (46 meters) off trail, and relieve themselves on a rock or bare ground.

You should stay at least 50 yards from mountain goats at all times, and never deliberately approach one. Goats that are used to people are more likely to become aggressive or try to assert dominance.

For more advice, see out guides what to do if you meet a mountain goat and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.