True wild goats, of which some ten species are recognized, belong to the Old World alone, where they are confined to the mountainous region which extends from the Atlas ranges of Northwestern Africa to Central Asia. Some other animals called goats are zoologically other wise related. All are essentially mountain ani mals, and exhibit a great aptitude for scram bling among rocks and bushes, are extremely sure-footed, and display great strength and agility in leaping. They also prefer as food the leaves and small branches of shrubs, and the strongly aromatic herbs which abound in mountainous localities, to the herbage of the richest pastures, browsing rather than grazing, as do sheep. They live in small herds, but the old bucks are likely to live separately, and thus serve the purpose of scouts, though all are extremely wary, and hence are among the most difficult of game for the sportsman. Two kids are usually produced at birth, in late spring, and very quickly become able to travel with the band.
The best-known as well as most characteristic species of wild goat is the bezoar goat, or pasang (Capra mgagrus), which was once common throughout the Grecian Archipelago, but now is known only in Crete and one or two other islands, and thence eastward through the high lands of Asia Minor to Persia, and thence to Northeastern India. It inhabits all barren hills
in the East, but in I'ersia rarely descends much below the timber-line. This goat (see Plate of WILD GOATS, ETC.) stands about 36 inches high, and in winter is brownish gray, changing in summer to a more reddish-yellow tint, with the buttocks and under parts near ly white; and the older bucks have the forehead, chin, heard, throat, front of the legs, a stripe along the spine, the tail, and a band on the flanks dark brown. The horns of the old bucks measure 40 to 50 inches along the curve, rise close together from the top of the skull, and sweep backward in an even curve, with the front edge forming a strong keel marked by irregular prominences; the horns of the female are much smaller and smoother. The old bucks maintain a most vigi lant watch, one or more being constantly on the lookout and warning the herd of danger. This is the species from which domestic goats have been derived. An illustrated account of this species will be found in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London for 1875, by C. G. Danford.