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Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Chordata
    Class: Mammalia
      Order: Artiodactyla
        Family: Bovidae
          Subfamily: Caprinae
            Genus: Nemorhaedus

Nemorhaedus goral

      Gray goral


Nemorhaedus goral [Hardwicke, 1825].  
Citation: Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond., 14:518.
Type locality: Nepal, in the Himalayas.

General Characteristics

Body Length: 95-130 cm / 37-53 in.
Shoulder Height: 75-80 cm / 30-32 in.
Tail Length: Up to 18 cm / 7.2 in.
Weight: 35-42 kg / 77-92 lb.

The coat varies in colour from grizzled grey to gray-brown, and grows shaggy in winter.  The slender legs are light tan in colour, and there is a lighter coloured 'bib' at the base of throat.  A dark stripe extends down the spine and onto the forelegs.  The back is slightly arched, and the facial profile is concave.  Males have a short, semi-erect mane on the neck.  Both sexes have short, pointed horns which curve backwards.  With small, irregular ridges, they grow 13-18 cm / 5-7 inches long.

Ontogeny and Reproduction

Gestation Period: 170-218 days.
Young per Birth: 1, rarely up to 3.
Weaning: At 7-8 months.
Sexual Maturity: About 3 years.
Life span: 14-15 years.

Ecology and Behavior

Gorals are most active in the early morning and late evening, but on cloudy days roam throughout the day.  They often drink after eating in the morning, thereafter retiring to a rock ledge on which to rest until evening.  Gorals are extremely nimble, and can move at high speeds across formidable terrain.  Their remarkable camouflage is extremely effective, and along with the fact that they lie motionless, gorals are extremely difficult to spot, even when in plain site.  Alarm vocalizations consist of hissing or a sneezing noise.  Groups inhabit an area of about 100 acres.  During the mating season, males may occupy and mark territories of 22-25 hectares.

Family group: Old males are usually solitary, otherwise they live in small groups of 4-12.
Diet: Grasses, leaves, twigs, nuts.
Main Predators: Dhole, leopard, lynx, tiger, marten, wolf.


Wooded mountain slopes at elevations of 1,000-4,000 m / 3,300-13,500 ft in the Himalayas, China, and Korea.

Range Map (Compiled from Shackleton, 1997)

Conservation Status

The gray goral is classified as low risk, near threatened by the IUCN (1996).


The gray goral is considered to be a "goat-elope", sharing characteristics of both the true goats and sheep, and antelope.  Nemus (Latin), genitive nemoris, a grove, a forest; haedus (Latin) a young goat, a kid.  Goral is a native name from eastern India.

Literature Cited

Shackleton, D. M. [Editor] and the IUCN/SSC Caprinae Specialist Group.  1997.  Wild Sheep and Goats and their Relatives.  Status Survey and Action Plan for Caprinae.   IUCN: Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder [editors]. 1993. Mammal Species of the World (Second Edition). Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.  Available online at

Zhiwotschenko, V.  Gorals (Genus Nemorhaedus).  In Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals.  Edited by S. P. Parker.  New York: McGraw-Hill.  Volume 5,  pp. 506-507.

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© Brent Huffman,
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