Throughout history, bighorn sheep have lived through many
different environments, and yet, still continue to thrive. From the years of
the Westward Expansion to life in 2007, bighorn sheep adapt to their environment
by adapting to us. Some of their physical features include:
Bighorn sheep know their terrain. Rocky Mountain
bighorns do not migrate during the winter
months like many animals. Instead they tough it
out, reducing the number of predators they encounter.
- Because of the harsh conditions of the Rockies,
bighorns develop a thick layer of course hair over their usual coat in the
winter. During June and July, molting takes place, losing their thick outer
coat in patches.
- The acute eyesight of bighorns allows them to see a
mile away. This is useful for spotting predators or finding hiding spots if being
- Although bighorns are not predators and cannot defend
themselves, their sheer muscular anatomy makes them a tough animal to kill.
Being in top physical shape also allows them to run at high speeds (20+mph)
for long durations if being hunted.
- Although bighorns do combat for dominance, they do
not kill each other. They travel in herds, reducing the chance
particular bighorn being killed.
- The hooves of a bighorn are perfectly
designed for the
terrain. Each hoof is separated into halves, conforming to fit even the
slipperiest of mountainsides. The inside of the hoof, being cushioned, allows them to keep
their balance on uneven surfaces.
- Bighorn sheep are not susceptible to hyperthermia.
Being excellent swimmers, bighorns are often around water. They normally
have an internal body temperature of 101°F, but can tolerate temperatures up