LIVING ON THE EDGE
Bighorn sheep may not seem too exciting at first glance. But wait until you get to know them better: with their amazing climbing talent, spectacular horns, and ability to live in some of the world's steepest, most forbidding habitats, they are worthy of our attention and appreciation.
The current range for Peninsular bighorn sheep in the United States is from the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs, California, to the United States-Mexico border. The surefooted sheep walk on two toes—the third and fourth—on each foot. The bottoms of their feet are very soft, giving them the ability to climb on rocks with a secure foothold.
Both male and female sheep have horns, but those of the males are much larger. Males use their horns in head-butting clashes that get more intense during the breeding season. Younger males are eager to try their skills and may pick more fights, but robust older males with their bigger and stronger horns can win fairly quickly. The winner usually breeds with all the females; the rest of the males return to bachelor herds or stay by themselves until the next breeding season.