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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Desert Bighorn Ram - Zion National Park, Utah

This ram is displaying his horns to some ewes he is following. Bighorns have a number of visual displays they use to communicate to each other. The outside of his horn is keratin, just like our fingernails. It is naturally a dull white in color. The horn gets its' golden brown color from the ram butting and rubbing his head against trees and getting sap, tree bark and dirt on the horns. The horn has a bone core on the inside.
I like bighorn sheep. They are easy to see and approach. They generally live in spectacular mountainous country, which is an added bonus when photographing them..
They are very susceptible to diseases carried by domestic sheep and often suffer large die offs when they come in contact with their domestic cousins. I would like to see domestic sheep banned from grazing on all public lands.

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