Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Larry Dalton and Laura Romin
Photo Copyright Larry Dalton and Laura Romin

The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, Ovis canadensis canadensis, is native to rugged mountainous areas of western North America. Unfortunately, the species has been eliminated from much of its former range due to over-hunting, habitat alterations, and diseases introduced by domestic livestock. In Utah, a great deal of effort has gone into re-establishing Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, and the species can now be found in a number of mountain ranges.

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep prefer steep rocky slopes, and may migrate from higher elevations to lower valleys in the winter. Young are born in May or June; females give birth to one or two lambs that can follow their mother shortly after birth. The diet of the species consists of a wide variety of plants, which vary with the season. Adult males have large spiraling horns that are often used for butting other males in displays of dominance, whereas females have shorter horns that do not spiral.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 289 pp.