Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Photos
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep...
Big Horn Sheep are found in the Rocky Mountains ranging from southern Canada to Nevada, Western Texas, eastern California, and northern Mexico. The species is comprised of three subspecies: Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep and Desert Bighorn Sheep. The Bighorn Sheep of Big Sky Country are Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. Dall Sheep, found in Alaska, are considered a separate species.
Ewes, females of the species, bear the appearance of wise and crafty individuals -- an appearance that suits their behavior.
Lambs, the young of the species, are exceedingly cute little fellows.
The appearance of the adult males of the species is so dramatic and imposing that their image has been adopted by Dodge to invoke the impression toughness. The large curving horns on the sides of a ram's head, which grow throughout the ram's life, can weigh as much as 30 pounds!
During the fall rut (mating season) males engage in combat to establish breeding rights. In combat, the rams will run at each other at high speeds, up to 20 miles per hour, and ram their heads together. It is not uncommon to see a ram with horns damaged by these vioent contests. These dramatic battles can last for hours. Having won breeding rights, the dominant male then puts on a show of playing hard to get -- running from a female that chases him before mating with her. Sometimes he'll kick a female to prompt this game of chase. As violent as the rut combat is, during winter and spring, rams get along quite well. During those seasons, it is not uncommon to see a bachelor herd comprised of rams of varying age and size.
Bighorn Sheep are exceedingly agile. They can walk on the slopes of canyon walls or loose slopes as casually as you and I can walk on a sidewalk. This ability allows them to elude predators. In fact, ewes deliver and hide their lambs on the steep loose walls of cliffs or canyons to keep them safe from predators. Just days old, lambs can negotiate this tricky terrain just like they were born for it -- which, in fact, they were!
Among the images featured in this gallery are photos of bighorn rams, photos of bighorn ewes and photos of bighorn lambs.
All photos in this gallery depict wild & Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
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