Bighorn sheep have very good eyesight, which allows them to judge distances accurately when jumping, according to the University of Michgan’s Animal Diversity Web (ADW). They also watch animals as far as a mile away.
Herds are separated by gender. Females live in nursery herds, with five to 100 members, which include adult females and lambs of both genders. Male-only bachelor herds usually contain five to 50 rams at one time, and they sometimes engage in homosexual activity, according to ADW.
Rams fight to decide who will be the dominant male in their group. During the fight, the males will face each other, rear up on their back legs and crash their huge horns into each other. Sometimes they charge as fast as 40 mph (64 km/h). Eventually, one of the rams ends up submitting and the winner is the new leader. This process can take hours.
The dominant ram earns the right to mate with the females. Mating season, called the rut, is in the autumn. Males are not usually strong enough to mate until they are at least 3 years old.
Female bighorns are pregnant for about 175 days, or about 25 weeks. They usually have only one lamb at a time. In the spring, the young are born on high ledges that protect them from predators.
Lambs are dependent on their mothers for the first four to six months of their lives, though they can walk almost as soon as they are born. The mortality rate for lambs is quite high. On average, 5 to 30 percent of lambs don’t make it to adulthood, according to ADW, though sometimes the death rate can be as high as 80 percent.
Rams typically don’t mate until they are around 7 years old. They can live from 10 to 19 years in the wild.
Rams are herbivores. They typically eat seeds, grass and plants. Their diet changes depending on the season, though. In the summer, they eat grasses or sedges and in the winter, bighorns eat woody plants, such as sage, willow and rabbit brush, according to Defenders of Wildlife. What they eat also depends on the type of bighorn. For example, desert bighorns eat plants found in their location, such as desert holly and desert cactus.
One swallow of food isn’t enough for these animals. They will regurgitate their food into their mouths. This regurgitated food is called cud. Then, they will rechew the food and swallow it once again. This is part of their digestion process.
Rams are typically 5 to 6 feet tall (1.5 to 1.8 meters) from head to tail, and weigh 262 to 280 lbs. (119 to 127 kilograms), though they can grow to over 300 lbs. (136 kg). Rocky Mountain bighorn rams have massive horns that weigh more than all of the bones in their bodies. A set of horns can weigh 30 lbs. (14 kg). Ewes, or female bighorn sheep, typically weigh 30 to 40 percent less than the rams, according to the National Bighorn Sheep Center.
Rams are male bighorn sheep, animals that live in the mountains and often settle arguments with fights that include ramming their heads into others. Not to be confused with mountain goats, rams can be identified by their long, curved horns, long fur, and split hooves. Bighorn sheep are bovines and are related to antelopes, bison, buffalo, cattle and goats.
Perhaps when you think of sheep, you think of rolling hills of grass and herds quietly grazing while a shepherd looks on. However, the grassy green meadows of wetter climates are not the only habitat of sheep — they also roam some of the world’s deserts. And, just like their meadow-dwelling cousins, the males among these desert sheep are called rams.
You can find the bighorn ram in desert areas ranging from Nevada and California to Texas and Mexico. These rams can weigh up to 280 lb., be more than 5 feet long and be more than 3 feet tall at the shoulder. They generally eat grasses, sedges and forbs, but in the winter, they will also eat things like twigs, leaves and shoots. The rams’ head-to-head combats can last up to 24 hours, and are for the right to mate with a particular ewe rather than for territory. Bighorn rams usually live for about 10 to 15 years.
Sudan Desert Ram
The Sudan desert ram is the result of the Sudanese tribes crossbreeding their own types of sheep in order to have a breed of sheep that could live in the harsh conditions of the Sudan desert. The rams of this breed are almost identical to the ewes, except that some do not have horns, and all rams have a thick neck that has a dewlap that extends from their chin to their brisket. A Sudan desert ram’s horns can vary from being bud-sized to being large, in which case they extend almost entirely horizontally from the ram’s head. These rams can live for approximately seven years.
A ram is a male sheep—the slang term being “buck.” Rams are always full-grown males and generally have the same characteristics and diet as other sheep, but they differ in terms of the habitat in which they live. Most species of rams are wild; however, many are also domesticated and kept on farms.
Rams are famous for their large, curled horns. The larger their horns, the better, since the horns serve as a symbol of status and are used as a weapon when battling other rams over mating rights. The weight of a typical ram is about 117 to 279 lbs. (53 to 127 kg). The shoulder height is around 32 to 40 inches. A ram has very good eyesight, which is mainly used for observing the surrounding areas for predators.
A Rocky Mountain bighorn ram’s horns can weigh 30 pounds (14 kilograms)—more than all the bones in his body combined. Females (ewes) also have horns, but they are of smaller size.
Rocky Mountain bighorns inhabit the mountains from Canada south to New Mexico. They are relatives of goats, and have balance-aiding split hooves and rough hoof bottoms for natural grip. These attributes, along with keen vision, help them move easily about rocky, rugged mountain