Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Vladimir Dinets
Photo Copyright Vladimir Dinets

The California bighorn sheep, Ovis canadensis californiana, is a race of the bighorn sheep, Ovis canadensis. Although it is not certain that the California bighorn sheep naturally occurred in Utah in historic times, there is some evidence to suggest that it was once native to Utah. In recent times, a population of California bighorn sheep has been established by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation on Antelope Island, in the Great Salt Lake.

The California bighorn sheep is at home in rugged mountainous areas. The species eats plant matter consisting of grasses, sedges, shrubs, and forbs. Breeding occurs in November or December, and young are born from May to June. Litter size is usually one, but two lambs in a litter is not uncommon.


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