The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep is the provincial mammal of Alberta. They are named for their large curved horns. Both males and females have horns, which continue to grow throughout a sheep’s lifetime. Male horns can weigh 14 kg (20 lb) and are a symbol of status among the herd.
An iconic symbol of wilderness, these sheep roam North America’s Rocky Mountains from northern Canada south to New Mexico. They live in herds of eight to 10 animals and have thick, heavy skulls that allow the animals to battle for hours without injury. The sound of the crashing horns can be heard more than a kilometre away. Split hooves and rough hoof bottoms allow the sheep to nimbly grip rugged, steep terrain. Keen eyesight also helps them navigate difficult terrain.
Drop by the Edmonton Valley Zoo soon to visit our herd of eight bighorn sheep!
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Up to 140 kg (300 lbs).
Bighorn sheep graze on grass and plants.
Battles for dominance are dramatic as males face-off, rear on their hind legs and charge their opponent at about 32 km (20 miles) an hour.
Bighorn sheep are threatened by bears, wolves and cougars. They are also considered desirable game animals by hunters.