Bighorn Sheep

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Bighorn Sheep - Habitat

Bighorn sheep (Ovis Canadensis) inhabit grassy mountains, alpine meadows and foothill country near rocky cliffs that allow quick escape. In summer they are found grazing at 6,000-8,500 feet in elevation and in winter they descent to 2,500-5,000 feet where show is not very deep. The natural range of Bighorn sheep is the Rocky Mountains from Southern Canada to Colorado.

 Bighorn Sheep - Pictures
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The desert subspecies of Bighorn sheep inhabit the Sierra Nevada Mountain, California and south Mexico. Desert Bighorn sheep are considered to be good indicators of land health, because they are sensitive to human-induced environmental problems. Today Bighorn sheep are extinct from many states where they originally lived.

Bighorn Sheep - Taxonomy

Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Sub Family: Caprinae
Genus: Ovis
Species: Canadensis

Bighorn Sheep - Adaptations

Desert Bighorn sheep have two mechanisms of cooling: perspiring and panting. They don't require drinking water when vegetation is available. In summer they can drink once in 3 days. The digestive system of Bighorn sheep is very complex and has 9 stages that allow the sheep to maximize removal of nutrients from various foods. Bighorns are sure-footed animals able to move well on rough and uneven background. They leap from ledge to ledge at great speed and grip slippery surfaces with the shock-absorbing elastic pads on the feet. They are able to jump over the spans of 20 feet. The furry coat with hollow hairs protects Bighorn sheep from temperature extremes.

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