Desert Big Horn Sheep. What’s up Fellas?

Look at them, hanging around on high rocks. What are you doing up there? It’s almost like they’re climbing around just so they can get a view of the world from a different vantage point. It’s like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid scoping the terrain for the super-posse as they do their hard scramble up the cliffs.

I’ve done a bit of research on these sheep. No surprise there are not as many of them as there used to be, but their numbers are climbing.

I get a kick out of the male rams challenging each other with their big eyes, puffing their chests out like matadors entering the ring. They compete with one another during mating season to see who gets to mate with their gathered harem of ewes. Maybe I’m flashing on Rudolf and the reindeer games, but these guys are just showing off for the girls. They stand on their back legs and dance and then slam to the ground and ram their compadre in the head with their horns. But hey, don’t worry, nature has a way, and they got extra thick skulls and tendons down the spine to help them recoil from the impact.

Here’s another couple odd things about them. During the non-mating season, they break off into groups—the girls go one way; the boys go another. They only assemble for the big wink-wink and knife throwing competitions. I wonder why they segregate themselves from one another the rest of the year?

Speaking of mating, it’s no wonder they’re ramming their heads into each other. They usually don’t begin to mate until they’re 7 years old, and their average life span is 9 years. They only got 2-3 seasons in them to get in there and get the job done. But what if they lose their jousting competitions? Does everyone get a chance to mate, regardless? What if it’s your last year and you’re in the ring for something like 24 hours and you don’t have a trainer named Mickey who’s willing to cut you? How sad would it be if you had to go your whole life and not get to play? Of course, the loser probably has a headache, anyway. Maybe they need the rest of the year to recover, or die.

Damn life is hard.