Mountain goats in Italy climb the wall of the Cingino Dam, scaling its near-vertical surface in order to lick salt deposits. Since their diets are largely devoid of minerals, and the rock the dam was built of contains what they need, mothers and babies make the dangerous climb to get what they need.
The rock used to build the Cingino Dam in Italy contains minerals essential to the diet of a species of mountain goat called an Ibex. As water seeps through the dam, it brings with it the mineral salts that the Ibex crave, and so mothers and kids climb the rock wall hundreds of feet high above the mountain floor in a death-defying feat — all so they can lick the salt from the dam.
“Ibex seem to go to such lengths,” says BBC presenter Brian Cox, “simply to compensate for their salt-deficient vegetarian diets, as the concrete provides them with an unconventional salt lick. That makes total sense because all animals crave salt, without it your nerves and muscles just don’t function properly and it’s especially important for mums when they’re feeding their young so maybe that’s why you only see females and their kids on this dam.”