Dall Sheep Definition | Characteristics & Facts

Dall Sheep

Dall Sheep General Characteristics & Facts

  • Scientific Name: Ovis dalli
  • Habitat: Dall Sheep inhabit rugged mountainous regions, including alpine and subalpine areas.
  • Range: They are found in North America, primarily in Alaska, western Canada, and a few areas in the western United States.
  • Color: White to light tan in color, with a thick coat of fur.
  • Sexual Dimorphism: Rams (males) are larger than ewes (females) and have larger, spiral-shaped horns.
  • Horns: Impressive curved horns on males, which can reach lengths of over 30 inches (76 cm).
  • Surefootedness: Dall Sheep are exceptionally agile and adept at navigating steep, rocky terrains.
  • Thick Coat: Their dense fur helps insulate them from cold temperatures at high altitudes.
  • Herbivores: Primarily herbivorous, they feed on a variety of plant materials like grasses, sedges, and shrubs.
  • Foraging Behavior: They graze during the summer months and might need to travel to different elevations to find suitable food.
  • Groups: Dall Sheep often form small groups or bands, especially during the mating season and winter.
  • Hierarchy: Rams establish a dominance hierarchy during mating season, which can involve head-butting competitions.
  • Mating Season: Occurs in late fall or early winter, with rams competing for access to ewes.
  • Gestation: Ewes have a gestation period of around 175 days.
  • Lambing: Typically give birth to one lamb, though twins can occur. Newborns are well-developed and can follow their mothers shortly after birth.
  • Conservation Status: Generally, Dall Sheep populations are considered stable, but some subpopulations might face threats due to habitat loss, climate change, and disease.
  • Natural Predators: Wolves, bears, and sometimes golden eagles are their main predators.
  • Vigilance: Dall Sheep have excellent eyesight and are vigilant against predators, often seeking refuge in rocky areas.
  • Conservation Efforts: Conservation measures include habitat protection, regulated hunting, and monitoring of populations to ensure their sustainability.


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