Why Do Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Fight Each Other?

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep use their curled horns as weapons in epic battles across the Rocky Mountains.

These fights are for dominance or mating rights and can very loud as they clash their horns. Of course, what you hear is not their voices, but the clang their horns make when they bang against one another.

Each year the time comes for the male sheep to prove to all the other males who is boss. This calls for a lot of fighting. Very seldom is anyone seriously hurt, for nature has given the male bighorns a double-layered skull to serve as a shock absorber when they bang their heads together. And banging their heads together is how these sheep fight.

Two fighting males will rear up on their hind legs facing each other and then get down on all four feet and charge toward each other with their heads down. When the horns clash together, the sound can be heard up to a mile away.

After the impact, they stand back and look at each other, both a little dazed. Then they do the whole thing again. Blood oozes from their noses, and chips fly from their horns. After a few minutes, they stop and return to grazing, just as though nothing had happened.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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