lervia (aka Aoudad)
The aoudad is up to five feet
long and four feet high on average and weighs up
to 300 pounds, with males being considerably
larger than females. It has a relatively long
tail that is tufted on the end half, and the
triangular-based horns curve outward, backward,
and then inward, and are marked with strong
transverse rings; both sexes have horns, but
those on males are longer (up to 22 inches). Both
sexes also have long hair on the throat, chest
and upper parts of the front legs.
Barbary sheep are expert
climbers and are able to ascend and descend
precipitous slopes with ease. They are also
excellent jumpers, able to clear obstacles of
over six feet from a standing start.
Native to dry mountainous areas of
northern Africa, Barbary sheep were introduced
into parts of Texas and New Mexico in the early
1900's. Listed as a vulnerable species in its
native habitat, it has become so well established
in America that there are concerns it may compete
with the native bighorn sheep. There is also an
established introduced population in Spain.
Habits and Behaviors
Barbary sheep are primarily
solitary but will assemble in small groups
consisting of females, young, older individuals
and a dominant male. Since their native habitat
offers little protection from cover and their
predators are equally adept at negotiating their
native terrain, Barbary sheep typically freeze in
the presence of danger and rely on their coloring
to help them blend into their surroundings.
Breeding may occur any time of
the year but is most common from mid-September to
mid-November. The gestation period is about 160
days, after which one to three young are born.
Young Barbary sheep are able to negotiate the
steep, rocky terrain almost immediately after
birth and will follow the mother until being
weaned at three to four months. Barbary sheep can
live up to 20 years in the wild.
Barbary sheep feed on grasses,
forbs and shrubs. They can live off the moisture
in their diet for long periods of time but will
readily take fresh water when available.
genus & species Ammotragus lervia
Ultimate Ungulate www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Ammotragus_lervia.html
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