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Bighorn Sheep


There are several subspecies of Bighorn Sheep. Each living in different environmental conditions and varying in size. Though they all tend to live near steep rocky areas for reasons of safety. Of the largest species of Bighorn Sheep, the males can weigh near 300 pounds and reach a length of 5 feet with a shoulder height of just over 3 feet. The females can weigh near 200 pounds and are smaller overall. For a list of sightings of this animal, you can view our Sightings and Observations Log and search on "Bighorn Sheep".

Male Bighorn Sheep (rams) are identified by their large spiral horns which can measure over 30 inches in length. Female Bighorn Sheep (ewes) have slender, straighter horns which measure 8 to 15 inches in length. They range in color from light brown to a grayish or dark brown and have short tails.

On flat ground, Bighorn Sheep can reach speeds of 30 miles per hour!

It has been noted that battles between 2 rams can last 24 hours!

Family: Sheep.

Field Notes

Bighorn Sheep blend in extremely well with their surroundings and can be very difficult to see. Usually we only hear their hooves and never see them.

On our visits to Joshua Tree National Park, while we were hiking above Barker Dam, we heard the sounds of hooves but did not see any sheep - no matter how hard we tried to find them.

On another occasion, up the East Fork of the San Gabriel River in the Angeles National Forest, we kept repeatedly hearing the sound of hooves on a steep rocky area across canyon from us but could see nothing. Then all of a sudden something must have spooked the sheep, and in unison, about 20 sheep bolted to the right. If they had not bolted I doubt we would have ever spotted them.

The Living Desert has a great Bighorn Sheep enclosure.

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