Desert Bighorn Sheep

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Desert Bighorn Sheep


South-western Canada to western United States and northern Mexico.


Alpine to dry desert, particularly cliffs.


Body stocky; coat is light to dark brown. The face lacks ruff or cheek beards. Large rump patches in rear. Huge, light-colored, blunt horns which curve underneath and alongside the face.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

Essentially gregarious, the big horn lives in herds. Living in groups consisting of ewes, lambs of all ages and a few rams throughout the whole year. The big horn is diurnal and has excellent hearing. It can detect danger from a long way off and promptly moves away. They migrate regularly, moving down to the valleys in the autumn and returning to high pastures when the snow has melted.


Mating season lasts from September to January when rams joust for the ewes. They often charge and meet head on, the full force taken on the foreheads. Gestation lasts 180 days and 1 (twins are rare) young is born. Suckling lasts 5-6 months and sexual maturity is attained at 3 years.

Desert Bighorn Sheep
Desert Bighorn Sheep
Native Utah Animal
See what other animals are Native to Utah.

Class: mammals
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Ovis
Species: canadensis
Length: Head to tail: 66 -73 in.
Height: 37 - 43 in.
Weight: Male: 125 - 300 lbs.; Female: 123 - l76 lbs.
Average Lifespan: 12
Wild Diet: Fresh grasses and bushes
Zoo Diet: Grass hay, mixed pellets and trace mineral salt block.
Predators: Mountain lions, wolves, and man
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Desert Bighorn Sheep Exhibit

Learn more about mammals or animals from North America!
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