Snow ram (bighorn sheep) is a cloven-hoofed ruminant that belongs to the bovine family. The weight of an adult male can reach up to 150 kg. Snow sheep lives in the highlands of Siberia, Sakhalin and Kamchatka. The number of species in 2017 is slightly more than 100 thousand individuals across the globe. A detailed description will help you make a more accurate picture.
- Exterior <
- Life cycle
- Propagation features
- Hair renewal cover
- Role in human life
- The final part
The bighorn sheep, or the rhino, has a large physique. Due to the fact that the habitat of the animals is mostly mountain ranges, and the structure is more similar to the exterior of the mountain goats than to its immediate relatives. The cervical region is shortened, the lower back is long and wide. The changes also affected the distal parts of the legs: they also became shorter.
Male body length reaches 190 cm, height – 120, weight can reach up to 160 kg. Females are characterized by smaller dimensions. Their body weight rarely reaches 80 kg. The weight of individuals of both sexes will depend on where they live, as well as on the season. The largest representatives of the genus are the Kamchatka and Chukotka rhino.
In the warmer months, the body of the Bighorn sheep is covered with short hair. In the autumn, the process of changing the coat begins, but outwardly this practically does not appear. Already in September there is an active growth of the spinous undercoat.Fluffy hairs and root roots have a lighter color, so by the onset of cold weather the shade of the coat changes due to breaking off the upper part of the outer hairs. In summer, when there is enough pasture in the meadows, the weight of the lambs is significantly more than in winter.
Snow sheep reaches puberty by 2 years. The birth of young animals falls in the warm season. Lambs quickly develop and adapt to pasture. Already at the age of 1 month, most of the livestock refuses milk and completely switches to adult food. Fertility is low: the female leads for the most part to one lamb at a time.
Today, the number of all individuals represented is a little over 100,000. There are several subspecies:
- Putorana Snow Ram;
- Yakutsk Snow Sheep;
- Okhotsk bog sheep;
- Koryak thick-horned beetle;
- Apple-tree Snow Ram.
The largest subspecies live in Yakutia. Putoransky Snow sheep is listed in the Red Book, because it is on the verge of extinction. In Yakutia and Chukotka, illegal hunting for the Bighorn sheep also reduced the number of species.In addition to uncontrolled hunting, a decrease in the number of individuals is greatly influenced by human activities: road construction, agricultural industry, geological exploration – all this jeopardized subspecies living in lowlands.
Due to the tendency to decrease in the number of people began to carry out work aimed at their conservation. For this, some of the individuals are moved to new habitats, and special protected reserves are created. Domestication is also underway for accelerated recovery through hybridization.
Throughout life, animals rest and seek food. The active period begins in the early morning and ends in the late evening. At night, a snow ram sleeps on a couch. When the time comes for white nights, some individuals occasionally graze even at night. In hot weather, animals rest several times a day.
The sequence and duration of feeding and rest depends on several factors:
- the presence or absence of bloodsuckers;
- how much food is available.
For recreation, animals trample deepenings in the soil with their hooves. For the most part, vacation spots are located in areas that are well viewed from all sides. For example, the top of the gorge, the saddle of the ridge. Food is mainly obtained in mountain gorges, near mountain streams.However, they are not in a hurry to go far from nearby hills and climb hills at the first danger.
The structure of the digestive tract in the Snow ram is the same as in the domesticated representatives. The length of the intestine is 30 times the length of the body, so pets can eat quite a large amount of feed. A powerful chewing apparatus allows the lamb to eat not only juicy greens, but also thorns, as well as all kinds of spikelets, gently separating with their teeth even twigs close to the ground.
The animal ration includes more than 320 species of various plants, as well as mushrooms and lichens. In the summer, the menu consists of juicy greens, and with the onset of autumn, mushrooms and berries are added to the diet. In winter, the animal digs up a snow layer and eats dried grass, thorns.
Features of breeding
The population of Snow rams was endangered not only due to human activity. Later puberty and low fecundity also played a role. Lamb reach puberty by 2 years. At the same time, females can breed already in 2 years, and males only in 4. The racing period varies within a month, a maximum of one and a half.
During the mating season, there are fierce battles between males for females, as a result of which many individuals die, which also does not contribute to population growth. Lambs are born during the appearance of the first lush greens in the meadows.Approximately 2 weeks before birth, the uterus leaves the herd and looks for a secluded place where they can safely give birth and hide their offspring from predators. The female mainly leads one lamb, rarely two.
Young growth is distinguished by good adaptability and endurance. A few days after the birth of the kids, they are able to move around on rocky terrain. An animal feeds its babies with milk for no more than a month. Starting from 4 weeks, the diet of lambs is the same as that of adults.
Babies are born with a weight of 3-5 kg. On juicy feed, before the onset of cold weather, the body weight of young animals increases to 25 kg. In winter, the growth rate decreases.
Shedding does not occur in all flocks at the same time. First of all, young growth begins to molt, then the spring males and females. Moult falls mainly in the first half of May and ends in early July. In the case of queen bees resolving from the burden, the molting period is delayed until August.
Any subspecies of the bighorn sheep begins to molt from the sides and abdomen. The last change is the hair on the limbs. By December, the process will be completely completed and the hair color will change.
Role in human life
Today, hunting for a sheep is forbidden. In connection with a sharp decrease in the species, a person was forced to start work on its conservation.The habitual habitat, due to human activity, became unsuitable for animals to live, so people began to create artificial reserves in which small species are resettled.
The selection process is very difficult, because most of the uterus are aborted after fertilization with the Snow fluid ram. For selection, domesticated females are used, which is a inhibiting factor. In wild females, the gestation period is 140 days, and in domestic 170, this explains the birth of weak babies and frequent miscarriages.
The animal tends to prefer living on the rocky slopes. Habitat – Kamchatka, Yakutia, Sakhalin, Siberia. The appearance of wild individuals is close in constitution to the appearance of mountain goats. This is due to the characteristics of the terrain in which the animals live. Their legs and cervical region are much shorter than those of domesticated relatives.
The weight of the male is about 150 kg, the females rarely reach 80. The weight gain and the exterior depend on the habitat, the ability to get food and weather conditions. Puberty begins at 2 years old, and females at this time are ready for fertilization, and males begin to breed only at the age of four.The birth of lambs falls during the warm season when enough green fodder appears in the lowlands of the mountains.
Almost all daylight hours the lamb spend on pastures. In the warm season, they can rest several times, because it is easy to get food. In the cold season, they have to spend all daylight hours to get food. Lambs sleep in specially prepared beds, indentations, which are trampled by hooves. Basically, the beds are located on the tops of mountainous hills, where the entire surrounding area is clearly visible.
Today, many species are on the verge of extinction. This trend is triggered by several factors:
- human development and development activities;
- late puberty;
- low female productivity.