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chamois

(shăm`ē), hollow-horned, hoofed mammal, Rupicapra rupicapra, found in the mountains of Europe and the E Mediterranean. It is about the size of a large goat and is light brown with a black tail, a black back stripe, and black markings on its face. In winter its coat is darker. Its uniquely shaped horns are erect, with terminal hooks pointed backward. The hooves can cling to rocky surfaces because of their elasticity, and the animal is able to leap with agility. It ranges to the snow line in summer, but in winter stays in lower areas. In autumn the adult males, which live apart from the herds of females and young, return for mating. The young are born in spring. The skin was the original chamois leather, but the name is now applied also to leather made from the skins of other animals. The chamois has been introduced into New Zealand. Chamois are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.

Chamois

 

leather made by fat tanning reindeer hide, sheepskin, or calfskin. Chamois is noted for its softness, velvety quality, and impermeability; it is dyed various colors. Chamois is highly porous. It is used to make clothing, footwear, and gloves, and also to filter gasoline (water separation) and polish optical lenses. Artificial chamois can be made by saturating fabric with a chamois-like nap with a rubber glue (for shoes) or by sprinkling chopped cotton fiber on fabric covered with rubber glue (for haberdashery items).


Chamois

 

(Rupicapra rupicapra), an artiodactyl ruminant of the family Bovidae. The head is small, and the snout is pointed. Both the males and the females have hook-shaped horns. The chamois is 65–70 cm high at the shoulder and weighs up to 40 kg. In the summer its coat is short and reddish yellow; in the winter it is long, thick, and black-brown.

The chamois inhabits the mountains of Europe—the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Apennines, the Carpathians, the Balkan Mountains. In the USSR it is found in the Caucasus. It also is encountered at high elevations of Asia Minor. In the summer the chamois ranges near the timberline and in alpine meadows; in the winter it lives only in forests. The chamois is a solitary animal or lives in herds of as many as 100 individuals. The animal climbs easily on cliffs; it feeds on grass and, sometimes, on the shoots and leaves of shrubs. Mating in the Caucasus occurs in mid-November, and one or two young are born in May. The chamois is a game animal. The meat is edible, and the hides are used for throw rugs and collars.

REFERENCES

Sokolov, I. I. Kopytnye zveri. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959. (Fauna SSSR: Mlekopitaiushchie, vol. 1. issue 3.)
Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1961.

I. I. SOKOLOV

chamois

[′sham·ē]
(vertebrate zoology)
Rupicapra rupicapra. A goatlike mammal included in the tribe Rupicaprini of the family Bovi-dae.

chamois

1. a sure-footed goat antelope, Rupicapra rupicapra, inhabiting mountains of Europe and SW Asia, having vertical horns with backward-pointing tips
2. a soft suede leather formerly made from the hide of this animal, now obtained from the skins of sheep and goats
3. a yellow to greyish-yellow colour
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