Physical Setting
Climate
Adaptations
Tucson Plants
Tucson Animals
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Physical Setting
Climate
Adaptations
Tucson Plants
Tucson Animals
External Resources
AnimalsVenomous AnimalsArthropodsFishAmphibiansReptilesBirdsMammals
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Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis)

bighorn sheepDESCRIPTION: Wt. up to about 300 lbs (140 kg) in males and up to about 200 lbs (90 kg) in females. Overall tan to brown with a conspicuous white rump patch. Males have large, curled horns whereas females have smaller horns that do not curl back under eyes like those in males.
NATURAL HISTORY: Herbivorous. Most active morning and late afternoon/evening (crepuscular), but may be active during the daytime (diurnal) also, especially during winter. Bighorn Sheep have adapted to the desert in many ways; one way is their ability to tolerate hyperthermia (see adaptation section). Normally their body temperature is 101 degrees, but they can tolerate body temperatures up to 107 degrees (42 degrees C). Prefer rocky habitats with steep slopes and cliffs to escape predators (e.g., Mountain Lions). Males butt heads to establish mating rights, and mating takes place during August and September. Except for bachelor males (who form their own small groups), they live in herds led by a dominant female.

Click on thumbnails below for more images:

female


HORNS VERSUS ANTLERS VERSUS PRONGHORNS

Horns are permanent (not shed) and have a bony core and keratin sheath and are not forked. Both sexes have horns. North American species with horns include sheep (bighorn and Dall's), mountain goats, muskoxen, and bison. Antlers are shed annually and are composed totally of bone and are forked. Only males have antlers (except in caribou)(Why do you think this is? North American species with antlers include members of the deer family (deer, moose, elk, caribou). Pronghorns have a bony core (permanent) and a keratin sheath (shed annually) and are forked. Both sexes have pronghorns. Only the Pronghorn has pronghorns.

 


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