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.