Spending time hiking in the Negev desert often times leaves you with the lucky chance to spot a local Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana). Another favorite local hang out for the herds is Ben Gurion’s field school; still located in their natural desert habitat, this oasis offers plenty of trees and grass for grazing.
As a desert-dwelling goat, the Nubian ibex are usually considered to be a subspecies of the Alpine ibex. However, some consider them a specifically distinct species (Capra nubiana).
The Nubian ibex is a tan color with a white underbelly. They stand at a shoulder height of 65–75 cm (2.1-2.6 ft) and weigh around 50 kilograms (110 lb). Both males and females have thin horns that grow up and then wrap backwards behind the head. The females’ are shorter, reaching only an average length of 30 cm (12 in), while the mens’ can reach around a meter in length.
The ibex species native to Israel is the Nubian ibex. They can also be found in the mountainous deserts of Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, and Sudan. It is believed that there are only approximately 1,200 left in the wild. They do live in herds, though the herds are comprised only of males or females. Their primary diet is one of grass and leaves. Unlike most desert animals, they drink water almost daily. The primary predators of the Nubian ibex are leopards, eagles, and bearded vultures. And they are diurnal animals (active during the day and rest at night).
The ibex mating season is late summer. With a gestation period of five months, most ibex are born in March. There are typically only one to two ibex born per a season, per a mother. The weaning period is three months, with sexual maturity being reached at two to three years of age. A Nubian ibex can live up to seventeen years.
Let’s get scientific: