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What is a Desert Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis)

What is a Desert Bighorn Sheep

What is a Desert Bighorn Sheep

A female Desert Bighorn Sheep at the Valley of Fire Visitors Center.

Below is a transcription of the above sign found at the Valley of Fire Visitor Center.

Desert Bighorn Sheep – Ovis canadensis

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Bovidae
  • Subfamily: Caprinae
  • Tribe: Caprini
  • Genus: Ovis
  • Species: O. canadensis


Rocky cliffs near springs or small streams; seasonal use of water in natural tanks.


75 to 275 pounds (37.5 to 137.5 kg), 4 to 6 ft (1.2 to 2 m) at shoulder.

Muscular body, thick neck.

Rams support massive horns that curl into a “C” shape; females have smaller hooked horns.

Color: tan to dark brown, white rump patch.


Very wide range of shrubs, forbes, and grasses.


Southern British Columbia, southwestern Alberta, through Idaho and Montana south to Nevada, southeastern California, Arizona, and New Mexico.


Consumes the widest range of plant life of all hoofed mammals, but must have water available.

Cloven hoofs are strong but flexible and give like crepe rubber when the animal makes its spectacular 20 foot (6.5 m) leaps down the face of seemingly sheer cliffs.


Important food source for Indians for thousands of years.

Frequently found in rock art throughout the range of these animals, reflecting their importance for America’s native peoples.


What a Desert Bighorn Sheep

Desert Bighorn Sheep are often seen at the nearby Hemenway Park near Lake Mead in Boulder City, NV.


Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis)

Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis)

Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis)

What is a Desert Bighorn Sheep