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Fun Facts About Rams

First listed on March 18, 1998. Range: California.
Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Ram is correct term for the male bighorn sheep. These animals are named for their large, curved horns they use to show dominance. Bighorn sheep are found in North American mountains ranging from Canada to New Mexico.

Male bighorns can weigh between 127 to 316 pounds (58 to 143 kg) and stand 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 m) tall. Rams can be colored light, dark or grayish brown with a white rump. Females or ewes also have horns, but they are of a smaller size. They live in herds spending much of their day grazing.

Rams use their horns to clash with other males in a show of strength. During the fall, the animals run into each other head-first for the right to mate with a female. The battle can continue for hours, even a full day, until one of the animals walks away.

Other facts about rams

headgear, ruminants, antlers, horns, deer, sheep, cows, giraffes,
Bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA. The sheep's horns are similar to those of cows and goats.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons user Wing-Chi Poon

Rams only meet with their females to mate. The stronger, older rams have larger horns and are usually the only ones able to mate with several ewes.

These horns can weigh as much as 30 pounds (13 kg) alone, more than all the bones in the rest of its body combined.

Rams charge each other at speeds of more than 20 mph (32 kph) and the crashing noise can be heard from great distances.

The ram has a thicker, bony skull that that helps absorb the impact of the clashes.

Bighorn sheep live in mountainous terrain. They have split hooves that provide a natural grip on the rocks.

Rams have very keen eyesight and are excellent jumpers. They are revered in Native American cultures as a smart, strong animal.

A baby lamb is kept secluded on a high ledge to detract wolves, coyotes, and mountain lions. They join a herd at just one week old.

When a predator is close by, the sheep will group together in a circle and face their horns out to defend themselves.

Other resources:

National Geographic- Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

National Park Service- Bighorn Sheep

National Wildlife Federation - Bighorn Sheep

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles - Bighorn Sheep

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