Bighorn Sheep – The Mountain Sheep
Visit the Rocky Mountains in the fall and you might hear some awesome crashing noises. These noises aren’t rocks falling, but bighorn sheep fighting. Males have huge, curled horns that can weigh up to 30 pounds. During mating season, the males, or rams, run at each other and butt their heads together. These fights can last almost a whole day and night! The biggest ram usually wins and the smaller ram finally gives up.
Bighorn sheep live in steep, mountain areas where they can hide from predators. Wolves, coyotes and bobcats hunt them. Golden eagles sometimes hunt baby sheep. Bighorn sheep have rough hooves. They are experts at scrambling on rocks.
Fun Facts about Bighorn Sheep for Kids
- Female bighorn sheep live in herds with their young. Adult females often live with their moms and sisters their whole lives. Males live in smaller groups. They join females only to breed.
- Bighorn sheep are herbivores. During the summer, they stay in the mountains and much on soft green grass or clover. In the winter, they come down to the valleys to eat woody plants or shrubs.
- Bighorn sheep have one or two babies. They keep their babies hidden on a cliff for up to a week. Babies learn quickly to climb and jump on rocks.
- Females have horns too, but they’re much smaller. Even babies have tiny horns.
Bighorn Sheep Vocabulary
- Ram: male bighorn sheep
- Steep: sharply slanted
- Predator: an animal that eats other animals
- Herbivore: eats plants
- Clover: a leafy plant with purple or white flowers
Learn More All About Bighorn Sheep
Watch a video about bighorn sheep:
A video of a bighorn sheep ramming into a car.
Bighorn Sheep Q&A
Question: How big are bighorn sheep?
Answer: Males weigh between 125 and 300 pounds; females weigh between 75 and 200 pounds.
Question: Where do bighorn sheep live?
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