Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan. It is a beautiful furry wild goat found in Kashmir, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Markhor got its name from the Persian words Mar and Khor, Mar means Snake and Khor means Eater, which is sometimes interpreted to either represent the species' ability to kill snakes, or as a reference to its corkscrewing horns, which are somewhat reminiscent of coiling snake.
Male Markhors have longer hair on the chin, throat, chest and shanks. Females are redder in colour, with shorter hair, a short black beard, and are maneless. Both sexes have tightly curled, corkscrew-like horns, which close together at the head, but spread upwards toward the tip. Markhor prefers living on dangerous and steep cliffs of the mountains to protect themselves from the attacks of wild predators including snow leopard and wolf.
Broadly, there are divided into two categories: flare-horned markhor (Capra falconeri falconeri) and straight-horned markhor (Capra falconeri megaceros). Flare-horned markhor includes two sub-species: Pir Panjal or Kashmir markhor and Astore markhor, whereas straight-horned markhor also includes two sub-species as well: Kabul markhor and straight-horned or Suleiman markhor. The Chiltan Markhor has been categorised as Chiltan Wild Goat.
According to folklore, the markhor has the ability to kill a snake. Thereafter, while chewing the cud, a foam-like substance comes out of its mouth which drops on the ground and dries. This foam-like substance is sought after by the local people, who believe it is useful in extracting the poison from snakebite.