Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dall Sheep

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Dall Sheep inhabit the areas of the Northwestern United States and Western Canada.. They live in a variety of habitats but are typically alpine, as they are very sure-footed and can use such terrain to escape predators. Dall Sheep are herbivores that feed off of a variety of grasses.

Until the age of about three, males and females look exactly the same... and then the horns begin to grow. Males grows horns made of keratin, and they may be as old as eight years before a full horn spiral is completed. Females also grow horns, but they are shorter and much more slender.

(Image Source)
Dall Sheep have a very well organized social system. Ewes, lambs, and very young rams live in one group, while adult rams live in another. These two groups will not associate with each other until mating season takes place in November and December. Over the summer, the adult rams will fights each other to establish a dominance ranking come breeding time. It is the most dominant males that mate the most often. This fighting also continues during mating season itself. The sound of rams clashing horns can be heard from a kilometer away.

Ewes are pregnant for about 175 days (roughly 5.7 months) and give birth to one lamb. These lambs grow quickly and are weaned after 3-5 months. Ewes typically breed every year.

Dall Sheep are listed as being of Least Concern.

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