Species / International Ovis

Mexicana Desert Bighorn

Ovis canadensis mexicanna


Arizona: Southern half of the state. - Mexico: In the Sonoran Desert of the state of Sonora. Wild sheep also formerly occurred in the states of Chihuahua and Coahuila in the Chihuahuan Desert, but are extinct; however the populations have been restored with sheep captured in the state of Sonora, Mexico. Also in Mexico, the sheep can be found on the Island of Tiburon.

New Mexico: Southwest corner of the state.


The adult body weight of the male is 150-200 pounds. The male's horns become a full curl by 7-8 years of age and have a spread of up to 33 inches and can weigh 30 pounds. The Mexican desert bighorn sheep has a smooth coat of brittle guard hairs and short, gray, crimped fleece under fur. The fur is pale brown and pales in appearance than the bighorn sheep of the United States.


All of the areas where they can be found are desert that consist of low, arid plains separated by barren, often detached mountains. Sometimes it is referred to as a tree desert because of the sizeable trees and treelike cacti. Temperatures range from about 50°F in January to about 85°F in July. Elevations range from sea level to merely 5,000 feet. Characteristic plants are palo verdes, ironwood, mesquite, and the saguaro or giant cactus.


The Mexican government has turned the care, conservation and harvest of these magnificent sheep over to the private land owners. Therefore, although these hunts are extremely expensive, the future of these sheep is good because of both facts, i.e.: Privately owned and of great value.

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