The Desert Bighorn – Rams

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Barry Glazier Ram

Photo Credit: Southern Utah’s own Barry Glazier!


If you were to be on a River Trip in the late fall you might be able to hear the crash of horns against each other (it can be heard up to a mile away!)   The reason the Desert Bighorn Sheep slam their heads together is to determine which Ram gets to have more females.  The Rams run at each other at speeds of up to 40 mph during the rut, trying to prove their dominance to other males. Generally it is male bighorns that are at least 7 years old that win these competitions, however if older Rams of the group have perished the younger ones can have a chance to prove dominance. These sessions can go on for quite a while -sometimes an upwards of 24 hours!

Talk about a headache – the Ram’s horns are large, thick and curving and can be more than 30 inches long, 15 inches in circumference and weigh upwards of 30 pounds! (Ewes have shorter horns with little curvature). The rams themselves can weigh anywhere between 125-300 pounds!

Once on a river trip, Marty Mathis and his group saw a Ram head-butting a barrel cactus. He turned the boat around and waited there for a minute to figure out what the Ram was doing. Once the Ram knocked the cactus over, he started eating the bottom of it!

So if you are on a Grand Canyon Expeditions river trip, keep your eyes out for these beautiful creatures… and hopefully you will remember some of these interesting facts that you’ll be able to share with your river friends!

Barry Glazier Close Ram

Photo Credit: Southern Utah’s own Barry Glazier

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