Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) are the most common type of wild sheep in North America. They are excellent climbers and are often found on steep rocky outcrops or high cliffs. They seek refuge in steep areas from predators, such as cougars, which are not agile enough to keep up with their sure-footed prey.

Flocks of bighorn sheep can contain up to 100 individuals. They head up to high meadows in summer before retreating to the valleys when the winter snows come.

Male bighorn sheep generally stay together in separate groups from the ewes and lambs. The rams have strict hierarchies based on the size of their horns. Fights are highly ritualized, with the adversaries butting their horns together. Ewes prefer to mate with rams with large horns and will refuse the courtship of others.

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ARKive photos and videos of the bighorn sheep

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