Bighorn Sheep Facts | Yellowstone Wildlife Guide
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICSThe bighorn sheep’s fur is tan or brown with a white muzzle, rump
FEEDING HABITSIn the summer, bighorn sheep graze on clover, sedges
BEHAVIOR & BREEDINGIn autumn, rams establish their dominance through head butting contests and will typically only challenge males with similar-sized horns. They charge at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, ramming their heads together in a duel that can last upward of 20 hours! The dominant ram will mate with more females than the other rams. When a male is ready to mate, he will go into a herd of females. The female will chase the male before they mate, and sometimes, a male will kick a female to get her to chase him.
Females typically give birth to their single offspring on a cliff that is difficult to access. Lambs are born woolly and white with little horns. For the first week of its life, the lamb stays in seclusion where it was born, then begins to follow its mother. Although they can walk and climb by the first day, the young are not weaned until about 5 months of age. Males leave their mother and join a bachelor group at 2 to 4 years of age, while female lambs will typically remain with their mother’s group for their entire lives.