Monday, May 01, 2017

Advanced Rock Climbing

I give you Bighorn Sheep.  These animals are present in the Santa Catalina mountain range, which can be seen from my living room window.  I can't, of course, see sheep from my window, but I know they're out there.

According to the Desert Museum's information, "Bighorn sheep live in an around the most inaccessible steep canyon walls and rugged terrain.  Their defense is to retreat to these hard-to-reach spots where predators cannot follow.  They feed with their herds early in the morning, bedding down to rest near each other in shallow caves or thick brush, while they chew their cuds.  Activity resumes in the late afternoon.

Breeding occurs during August and September.  Rams butt heads to establish dominance and the right to breed, and the cracking sound of their butting heads can be heard a mile away.

Both males and females have horns.  The ewe's horns are narrow and only grow about 12 inches long (about a half curl).  The male's horns are broad and massive and eventually curl in nearly a full spiral. The ram's horns may weigh as much as 40 pounds!"

The bighorn sheep lamb in the photo above is a new arrival at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, born at approximately 1:15 pm on March 23, 2017.  Just a little over a month old and traipsing over the rocks like a pro!

"Bighorn sheep inhabit some of the driest mountain ranges in Arizona, they are superbly adapted to life in these arid environments. During winter months when dew is available and plants contain more moisture, the sheep can last for several months without drinking free water.

In the intense heat of summer when most green plants have dried up, they seek out barrel cactus, chain fruit cholla fruits, and other cactus fruits for their water content. They avoid the sun by resting in the shade or in caves and shallow overhangs, but they can withstand body temperatures of up to 107 degrees Fahrenheit! (Normal body temperature for bighorn sheep is 101 to 102F; 38 to 39C.)

Enlarged stomach compartments can store water to last for several days, allowing the sheep to go 2 or 3 days without a drink. They can then drink up to 20 percent of their body weight (up to 2 gallons; 7.5 liters) in just a few minutes at a waterhole."

I'm happy to have these majestic animals in my neighborhood.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: Moist, Crispy, Sticky, And Sweet
2015: Victory On The York River
2014The Siren Song Of Spring
2013: No Pets. No Beards.

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