Interesting Facts About Bighorn Sheep: Excellent Climbers Of Steep, Rocky Terrain

Bighorn sheep are one of two mountain sheep species that lives in North America. Their color ranges from light brown to dark brown or grayish, and have the lining on the backs of the four legs and a white rump. They’re legendary for their capability to climb high, rocky, and steep mountain regions.
The male Bighorn sheep is known as a ram, and you can easily recognize them by their large brown horns. The horns curl backward over their ears, down, and up past the cheeks. By the time a ram reaches 7 or 8 years of age, he can have a fully curled set of horns. The females are smaller than rams and have smaller, and shorter horns which never exceed half a curl.
Bighorn rams are well known for a head-to-head fight to win over their females. The size of horn determines their status and combats happen only between rams with horns of the same size. They utilize their horns to smash into their rivals at speeds of 9 miles (30 kilometers) per hour.
With up to five head clashes in one hour, the fight can last for about 25 hours or until one of the males surrenders. Bighorn sheep can also stand on the ledges of the mountain as narrow as five centimeters (two inches) wide. They leap from one ledge to another with great speed and can jump across spans as wide as twenty feet (six meters).
Wolves threaten all bighorn sheep regardless of their age, bears and especially cougars that are perhaps well equipped with the high agility to prey on them in steep, rocky territories.
They’re considered perfect indicators of the land health since the species is very sensitive to many human-induced environmental problems. On top of their aesthetic value, bighorn sheep are also regarded desirable game mammals by hunters.
Below are more interesting facts about bighorn sheep. Enjoy!
1. Bighorn sheep are excellent climbers and can climb extremely steep slopes to avoid predators. Lambs are hunted by lynxes, coyotes, golden eagles and bobcats, while adults can be killed by wolves, pumas and bears.
2. Bighorn sheep live in groups of nearly 100 animals. They live in mountainous regions of western and central United States, southwest Canada, and northwest Mexico. At one stage, their population had reduced significantly, but they’ve since recovered and are now safe from extinction.
3. Bighorn sheep get their names from their large curly horns which can grow up to one meter long in males and even weigh as much as the rest of their skeleton.
4. The essential asset of bighorn sheep is its hoofs. The front hoofs are slightly bigger than the hind. Every hoof has a firm rim on the outer edge with a soft, concave part in the middle that provides the sheep perfect traction on a steep and rocky terrain.
5. One of the amazing facts about desert bighorn sheep is that they use two weird techniques for getting rid of hot summers and cooling their bodies. The first is perspiring and second is panting. It’s only in rainy seasons that desert bighorn exhibit typical behavior of their species.
6. For a single female, many bighorn rams fight, and the bighorn who has suffered a low number of injuries and is least exhausted is fully entitled to mate with a heated female. A bighorn sheep’s skull has a unique formation; the front portion of the face and the skull does not receive any severe injury. The horns of a male rocky mountain bighorn sheep weigh about 30 pounds! Besides, the overall weight of all bones in the body of a rocky mountain bighorn sheep weighs less than its horns!
7. Bighorn sheep are extremely susceptible to particular diseases carried by the domestic sheep, such as pneumonia and scabies; additional mortality happens due to accidents involving falling off cliffs, or rock falls (a danger of living in steep, rocky terrain).
8. The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep is the state animal of Colorado and the provincial mammal of Alberta. In fact, Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife has incorporated into their symbol.

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