Zion National Park is home to many different unique and beautiful animals. Animals like the California Condor, Mule Deer, and the Western Rattle Snake call Zion National Park home all year long. Those who will be visiting Zion National Park may get the chance to see another animal that can’t be seen in many places.
The Bighorn Sheep of Zion National Park leave guests staring in awe as they precariously maneuver their hooved feet along steep and narrow cliffs. Guests who see these impressive sheep often recall the sighting as one of the most memorable things during their trip. Though not often talked about, Bighorn Sheep are just one more incredible thing to see while in the amazing Zion National Park.
About Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn Sheep are some of the most unique creatures in Zion National Park. They are closely related to Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, but the Bighorn Sheep in Zion National Park are built for the hot, dry weather of Zion. They have long legs, small bodies, short coats, and can survive on only the water from the vegetation they consume for days at a time.
Unlike most horned mammals, where only the males possess horns, both male and female Bighorn Sheep have horns. The female’s horns are shorter and less robust while the male’s horns are long, thick, and curve around their heads. These horns are used for ramming into other males to prove dominance.
For many years, the population of Bighorn Sheep in the southern Utah area was dwindling. In the late seventies, they were reintroduced to the area to return the native species where it belonged and, ever since, the Bighorn Sheep population has been booming.
Where Bighorn Sheep can be Found in Zion
While Bighorn Sheep may be seen on many mountains and cliffs, there are a few specific areas where guests are more likely to see them. In the areas of the Zion- Mt. Carmel Tunnel and the East Entrance of the park, it is common to see the Bighorn Sheep perched high on a rocky cliff, grazing on vegetation or, resting in the shade at the base of a cliff. Drivers should take care in these areas since Bighorn Sheep may cross the road unexpectedly.
When to Observe Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn Sheep are in the area year-round, but the best time to view them is once the cool weather moves in. With the peak of the mating season beginning in October, guests can hear them slamming their horns into each other to establish dominance, secure mating rights, and claim their territory. It is an incredible sight to see these creatures fighting precariously on a cliff’s edge.
For a dose of cuteness, travelers can plan their trip around the arrival of baby Bighorn lambs. New born lambs can be seen from mid-January to late April since there is a six-month gestation period after the peak mating season in October. No matter what time of year visitors come to Zion, they will be delighted by the sight of these majestic, beautiful, and interesting animals.
Visit the Bighorn Sheep of Zion
By observing the Bighorn Sheep of Zion from a safe distance, guests will be able to have a better appreciation of the unique wildlife of Zion National Park. Whether guests are visiting the area solely to observe the wildlife or they have come for outdoor activities but stumble across the wildlife in the process, Bighorn Sheep sightings will be a highlight of the trip.