The bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) is a species of sheep in North America with large horns. These horns can weigh up to 14 kg, while the sheep themselves weigh up to 140 kg.
The sheep originally crossed to North America over the Bering land bridge from Siberia. The population in North America peaked in the millions and the bighorn sheep entered into the mythology of Native Americans. However, by 1900 the population had crashed to several thousand. Conservation efforts restored the population.
Bighorn sheep are named for the large, curved horns borne by the rams (males). Ewes (females) also have horns, but they are shorter with less curvature.
They range in color from light brown to grayish or dark, chocolate brown, with a white rump and lining on the back of all four legs.
Males typically weigh 58–143 kg and are 91–100 cm tall at the shoulder and 180–200 cm long from the nose to the tail. Females are typically 34–85 kg, 76–91 cm tall and 140–170 cm long.
Photographer © Karin Van Couwenberg