Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sheep Crossing????

During our vacation in South Dakota, I saw a sign I'd never seen before  

In Tennessee, I've seen plenty of deer crossing signs, and in Arizona, I watched for Elk, but this was a first for me.

It's not uncommon to see these surefooted animals on the rocks near Deadwood, South Dakota  Their agility is amazing, but not so great as that of the Mountain Goat. How do you tell the difference?

Mountain Goats are  a stark white color with smaller horns while the Bighorn sheep, especially the rams, are named because of their large, curling gray horns.  The ewes also have horns, but much smaller ones.

Although these animals are part of the 'cloven hoof' group, the Bighorns and Mountain goats have fatter or wider hooves with softer pads on the bottom that help grip the rocks.  Other cloven-hoofed animals would ultimately slip because of the rigidity of their hooves.

Even though the goats and sheep are superb climbers, falls have been documented, and other have been killed by vehicles.

The herd was released into a "burn area in February 2015, and except for a few strays, have remained in the area.  Twenty-Six animals were released, and at least thirteen lambs have joined the family.  The newest crop is likely to be born in mid-May.

Note:  All the photos were borrowed from Google Images.

1 comment:

Juliet Waldron said...

Happy to see these guys about...tnx for the explanation about how they "stick" on the rocks. :)

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