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Bighorn Sheep
Photo: Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis.
Bighorn sheep, Ovis canadensis
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Where are they found? North America

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The Canadian population of this stocky muscular animal is restricted to western Alberta and southern British Columbia, where there are high elevations with low precipitation levels in winter and spring. Bighorn sheep also live in the U.S.A. and Mexico.

Adult males range in weight from 75 to 137 kg (165 to 302 lb.). The ewes, lambs, yearlings and young rams band together in groups led by an old ewe. They are joined in autumn by the mature rams, in time for the mating season.

During the rutting season, the adult males engage in fierce jousting matches, crashing head-on into each other with an impact that can be heard 2 km (1.2 mi.) away. The bony structures in the head are adapted to protect the brain by absorbing the tremendous impact of such clashes.

Their chief predator is the cougar, but unattended kids are often taken by the Golden Eagle. Their heads, with their magnificent horns, are prized by hunters.


More Images
Photo: Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis. Photo: Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis. Photo: Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis. Photo: Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis. Photo: Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis. Photo: Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis. Photo: Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis. Photo: Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis. Photo: Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis.


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