A Family of Bighorn Sheep in Badlands National Park

Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis), South Dakota
Pair of Bighorn Sheep, Badlands National Park, South Dakota
While driving through Badlands National Park in South Dakota we came upon what appeared to be a nuclear family of Bighorn Sheep: a young ram, his apparent mate, and a small lamb.  In the mountains near our house in Colorado, we are accustomed to seeing Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) in herds. Occasionally we see a lone ram.  But in our experience, a threesome such as this is an unusual sight.

Now, there may have been more sheep nearby that we did not see.  These three individuals were quite near to the road, so perhaps the rest of the herd was just over the ridge that rose up behind them.  But that day we saw only these two young adults, a male and a female, and the little lamb.  The lamb was young enough that the vestige of its umbilical cord was still visible on its belly!

Below are some close-up photos of each of the individual sheep.

Bighorn Sheep ram (Ovis canadensis), South Dakota
Bighorn Sheep ram

Bighorn Sheep ewe (Ovis canadensis), South Dakota
Bighorn Sheep ewe

Bighorn Sheep lamb (Ovis canadensis), South Dakota
Bighorn Sheep lamb

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