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Nevada's State Animal: Desert Bighorn Sheep

Updated: Feb 15, 2022



The desert bighorn sheep: the iconic symbol of Nevada. These sheep are Nevada’s state animal, and they have some cool adaptations that help them live in the desert.


Bighorn sheep are quite large, going up to 250 pounds. Despite this, they’re very agile climbers with hooves that are adapted to help them grip onto the hillsides. You’ll often find them on cliffs and mountains because of this.


Desert bighorn sheep tend to be social animals, living in herds with others. The males, known as rams, have their signature large spiral horns, but females, ewes, actually look slightly different. The ewes tend to be smaller and their horns are also smaller and less curved. The purpose of horns for rams are mostly for eating and to fight one another for dominance. A ram’s horn will actually grow for the whole duration of it’s life, so an older sheep will likely have quite large horns.

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