The Mouflon (Ovis musimon) is thought to be one of the two ancestors for all modern sheep breeds. Mouflon sheep have small bodies, long legs and short tails. They have a red-brown color with a darker area along their back, and lighter colored side patches. Their underparts are white as well as the bottom halves of their legs, a white muzzle and white circles around the eyes.
Generally, only the males have horns, but some females may have small horns. Their horns are tightly curved and are smaller than the horns of other wild sheep. The curved, spiral horns are usually around 25 inches in length and are arch back over its head. The mouflon's horns don't flare out at the end as most wild sheep's do. The size of a male mouflon's horns determine his status in the group.
A mouflon is about the size of a medium domestic sheep with a weight range of 55-120 pounds. They are 4-5 feet long, and stand about 2-4 feet tall at the shoulders. The Mouflon’s outer coat is stiff and bristly, and covers a short, wooly undercoat. The undercoat is shed each spring. They resemble the Bighorn sheep, but are generally smaller.
Size: They average 27 inches in height. Males weigh up to 100 pounds, and females weigh less.
Life Span: Approximately 15 to 20 years.
Diet: In the wild: grasses, sedges and forbs.
Habitat: They inhabit fairly dry upland and mountain areas. These areas are typically located at elevations ranging from sea level to 5,000 meters.
Reproduction: Breeding begins in autumn, and the lambs are usually born in April. After a gestation period of about 150 to 180 days, females produce 1 to 3 young, which weigh 6 to 10 pounds each. They reach sexual maturity at 2 ½ to 3 ½ years of age.
Behavior: Mouflon Sheep have a social system that is based on a single, dominant leader. Except for the breeding season, the males live in flocks separate from the mothers and their young. During breeding season combat, rams rush together with such force that they are occasionally killed by the impact. The Mouflon are a herd animal. They feed intermittently throughout the day, resting during the hottest hours. They are extremely fast runners.
Current Status: The Mouflon is possibly an ancestor to all domestic sheep. Its survival in the wild depends on finding enough food in its harsh environment. The Mouflon has adapted over the years so that it can escape from its fleet-footed predators. There are an estimated 700 survivors in the wild. In 1980, the USDI listed the Mouflon sheep as endangered in Cyprus.
This excerpt is from Record of Exotics (dedication by Thompson Temple). If you would like more information from this document, CLICK HERE. If you would like to see the top 10 records, you can purchase the book with the full list for each animal.
This handsome wild sheep has black their faces and necks. They are brown sides and white on their bellies. In the fall, they can have a white saddle patch on heir flanks. Their horns grow up, out, down and then back in toward their eyes. The females have very small horns or no horns. Large males weigh 110 pounds and females 75 pounds. The mouflon has been transplanted throughout Europe and now in the U.S. They are considered the most handsome of all the wild sheep.
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