Adult chamois have a snout-vent length of 110 to 130 cm, a tail up to eight cm long, a height at the withers of 70 to 85 cm and a weight of 25 to 40 kg (females) or 35 to 50 kg (males). Chamois have a strong but stocky build. The slender neck carries a short head that narrows strongly towards the snout. Both sexes have horns, also called "Krucken" or "Krickel". These grow up to 25 cm long and are rounded. They are circularly notched at the root, straight upwards and curved backwards at the tip. Unlike the antlers of deer and roe deer, the horns are not shed in winter. The pointed ears of chamois are about half the length of the head.
The chamois has relatively long, strong legs with relatively large hooves.
In summer the chamois is a dirty reddish brown, pale reddish yellow on the underpart, with a blackish brown eel line on the back, pale yellow on the throat and whitish yellow on the neck. The back of the thighs is white, the tail black on the underpart and at the tip. A black longitudinal band runs from the ears over the eyes.
In winter the chamois is dark brown or brown-black above, white on the belly, yellowish white on the feet and head, and slightly darker on the crown and snout. Both coats blend imperceptibly into each other.
The chamois depends on steep, if possible partly rocky terrain for its habitat. This is where its physical abilities come into their best play. For example, a comparatively large heart, a high proportion of oxygen-binding red blood cells and the special construction of the spreading hooves enable chamois to move safely and perform well under these conditions. The slope of the landscape is also used to stay in a suitable microclimate at all times, especially since temperatures as low as 12 degrees are considered rather unpleasant by the animals. Whether the terrain is forested is basically of no central importance. In the Alps, chamois tend to stay above the forest belt at altitudes between 1500 and 2500 m. The scarcity of food forces them to stay in the forest. Food shortages force them to descend to lower - forested - altitudes in winter.
The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gämse). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 19 October 2021