Man with Stick Duels Ibex

Interesting magazine article from Victorian times. The ibexes are wild goats. This one, I presume, is an Alpine ibex or steinbock. The locale is in Switzerland. 


I send you an account of an attack by an ibex on a gentleman, which is so opposed to the generally shy habits of the animal that I think it will be interesting to the readers of your paper. A gentleman from Schaffhausen, who had been visiting his wife and child, started to go over the Strelapass to Chur, and was accompanied for a part of the way by his wife and child. Between the Schatzalp and the Strelapass a large ibex suddenly joined the party and went with them some distance to the top of the pass. At last it became bold and came within one or two paces of them. The gentleman attempted to make friends with it by offering it a piece of bread on the point of his stick. The ibex, however, took this for a challenge, reared on its hind legs and attacked its opponent so violently with its horns that he was thrown to the ground. After a long struggle the animal took to flight, but on the gentleman throwing stones after it it turned again. The wife ran as fast as possible to the Schatzalp for help, but meanwhile the battle recommenced, and lasted, with short intervals, for more than an hour. At last a shepherd came to the assistance of the wearied gentleman, who was also slightly injured, and giving the ibex some blows with his knife, put it finally to flight. Shortly afterwards several persons from Davos Platz, whom a message from the Schatzalp had called to help, came up and tried to catch the ibex. They succeeded in frightening it on to a rock, from which, as they supposed, it would not be able to descend. The next day they again attempted the capture. The ibex was quietly grazing on the slopes near the pass, but all efforts to secure it were in vain. Now small and large parties go to the Strelapass every day to see the ibex. Sometimes they have the pleasure of coming rather near to it, but no one seems quite to like the look of it, nor would any one care to meet it alone. We shall have to petition some sportsman to come and shoot it, as it is certainly master of the situation at present. No doubt it has lost its mate, and is at war with the rest of the world.

--from Littell's Living Age magazine, 1881

Thanks to Croconut for sharing this. 


  1. Lending a whole new meaning to the title "The Horror-Horn." (As ALF was fond of saying: HA! I kill me!)

    Interestingly, "steinbock"--literally, rock-buck--was later applied to a fairly small, dainty antelope in Africa, probably by the Boers via the Dutch, so etymologically close to the German-Swiss for this big, powerful goat. Much as English settlement of this country gave us mountain "lions"; American "robins" and "polecats" and "civet cats" as applied to skunks.

  2. Also "buffalo" for American bison and "panther" for cougars.

  3. In Mexico is the same :B Our coatis are "badgers", pumas are "lions", jaguars are "tigers", bobcats are "wildcats", peccaries are "wild boars" and brocket deer are called something derived from "roe deer".

    And of course, "alligator" comes from "el lagarto" which means "the lizard" in Spanish...

  4. Tiger, panther, and lion have to be three of the most confusing animal names. I can't tell you how many times I've had to consult range maps to figure out which animal a news story is talking about.

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