In Zion National Park, you are most likely to see bighorn between the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel and the East Entrance. These skilled climbers choose steep, rocky terrain, like that found on Zion's east side, to allow them to escape from predators like mountain lions. Their hooves grip the rock and allow them to move up and down the sandstone cliffs.
Desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) are perfectly adapted to survive the hot, dry deserts they call home. Their bodies are smaller, legs longer, and coats shorter than their cousin the Rocky Mountain bighorn (Ovis canadensis canadensis). In the spring, bighorn can go many days without drinking water, metabolizing just enough moisture from the vegetation they eat. In dry times of the year, they drink more frequently, relying on water-filled potholes and springs to survive. July through October is the mating season for bighorns, also called the rut. During this period rams will battle each other using their horns to butt--or ram--their heads together. The dominant male wins mating access with the ewes in the herd. Lambs are born after six months with a soft, wooly coat and small hornbuds. Newborn lambs can be seen from mid-January through the end of April in Zion.
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November 5th, 2017
Viewed 480 Times - Last Visitor from Beverly Hills, CA on 08/13/2019 at 12:21 PM