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Dall Sheep

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The Dall sheep (also known as Dall's sheep and the thinhorn) is a hoofed mammal that lives in mountainous regions (alpine tundra and taiga). These mammals inhabit Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of Alaska and western Canada.

The female is called a ewe, the male is called a ram, and the young are called lambs. Most of the year, these sheep gather in segregated herds, some consisting of all rams, and others containing ewes plus their lambs. Dall sheep are closely related to goats. Dall sheep have an average life span of about 15 years in the wild. Scientific name: Ovis dalli dalli.

Anatomy: Dall sheep are sure-footed animals who have a rough pad on the bottom of their two-toed, spread-out hooves; they move well on rough, uneven ground. They have a furry coat with hollow hairs that protect them from the cold. The coat color varies from white to grayish. Dall sheep are about 3 feet (90 cm) tall at the shoulder. The curving horns are slender and light brown; they continue to grow throughout the sheep's lifetime and do not drop off. The horns are made of keratin, the same material our fingernails are made of; growth rings on the horns, called annuli, tell us how old a sheep is.

Diet: Dall sheep are herbivores (plant-eaters) who spend most of the day grazing. They eat grass, leaves, herbs, twigs, and shoots. In the winter, they eat lichens. Dall sheep swallow their food without chewing it much. Later, they regurgitate the food (then called a cud) and chew it thoroughly before swallowing it again.

Predators: Bears, golden eagles, wolves, and humans are predators of Dall sheep.

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