Dall’s sheep is distributed throughout Alaska, the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and the northwest part of British Columbia.
Open alpine ridges, meadows and steep slopes, usually almost entirely above timberline in dry mountainous regions.
- The average height at the shoulder is 37 inches (94 cm).
- Males weigh 160-200 pounds (73-90 kg) with some large rams exceeding 250 pounds (113 kg); females are smaller weighing on average 100-110 pounds (46-50 kg).
- Dall’s sheep have thick, nearly pure white fur.
- Males have thick curling horns measuring up to 34 inches (86 cm) from tip to tip.
- Females have shorter, more slender, slightly curved horns.
What Does It Eat?
In the wild: In summer they eat a variety of plants. In winter their diet is more limited – primarily dry frozen grass and sedge stems, lichen and moss. They also visit mineral licks during spring.
At the zoo: Hay, alfalfa, grain, vitamin and mineral supplements, carrots and apples for treats.
What Eats It?
Wolves, coyotes, black bears, grizzly bears prey on Dall’s sheep. Golden eagles can prey on the young.
Adult herds consisting of females and young, range from five to 100 individuals. Males live in bachelor herds ranging from two to 15 rams, and seldom associate with females except during mating season in the fall. Rams establish a dominance hierarchy based on horn size. Butting contests can determine breeding rights and herd dominance between rams with similar sized horns.
Rams are sexually mature at 18 months, but don’t mate successfully until 5-7 years of age. Females are sexually mature at 30 months and will often not have their first lamb until age 3 or 4. Lambs are born in late Mary or early June after a gestation of about 171 days. Ewes leave the herd to give birth on secluded cliffs that provide lambs with shelter from the weather and protection from predators. Newborn lambs weigh seven to nine pounds (3-4 kg). The lambs can walk within a day and are sure-footed enough to climb steep terrain with ease by the time they are a week old. Lambs are weaned after three to five months and nibble on vegetation within a month. They stay close to their mother for the first few weeks but gradually become more independent and mix with other herd members. Female young stay with the herd. At about three years of age, young rams leave female groups and join bachelor groups. They are capable of reproducing throughout their lives. Dall’s sheep may live 15-16 years in the wild and longer in captivity.