Nevada State Animal

Nevada State Animal

Nevada State Animal. The bighorn sheep, Obis canadensis nelsoni, is the official state animal of Nevada. It’s also a beautiful animal and well suited to Nevada’s mountainous desert landscape due to its ability to keep itself alive without water for long periods of time. The large rams stand around four feet tall and weigh up to a whopping 175 pounds.

Nevada State Animal: Desert Bighorn Sheep

Desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) are a subspecies of bighorn sheep found in the desert Southwest United States and northern regions of Mexico. The trinomial commemorates the American naturalist Edward William Nelson (1855-1934). Desert bighorn sheep have many characteristics and initially follow those of other species, with adaptations made to their lack of water in areas such as the desert.

Characteristics of Nevada Desert Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn sheep have a broad, massive tendon linking the skull and spine in order to help the head recoil from blows. The horns of a male are used for fighting and scoring points. Desert bighorns are smaller with some flatter horns than other subspecies such as the Canadian desert species (Ovis canadensis nelsoni). Their pelage has a thin layer of guard hairs and crimped underfur.


Desert bighorn sheep is an animal that inhabits alpine meadows, mountain slopes, and foothill country. Its dependable safety comes from the fact that rocky cliffs are nearby. However, if a prey item can reach a rocky outcrop or cliff, it is usually safe from the attack of wolves and other predators. If it’s in a desert with less than 60 inches of annual snowfall, it is too warm for bighorn sheep because their hooves can’t dig through deep snow for forage. It also likes to be between 2,500-5,000 feet and 6,000-8,500 feet elevation during the summer and winter ranges respectively.


If you’re looking for an animal with a unique and character-filled personality, you should check out bighorn sheep. These guys are certainly known for their head-to-head combat between males, but they’re also known for their massive 12-inch horns. And since it’s not just about brute power — you can use the mass of the horns against your opponent at speeds of 20 mph so in this fight, nothing is as important as horns. Check out how long these fights last: 25 hours (or more) until one male concedes in battle to another.


Bighorn sheep are perhaps best known for their head-to-head combat between males. Horn size is a symbol of rank, and mass of the horns is used to a male’s advantage as he smashes into an opponent at speeds of 20 miles per hour. Combat has been observed to last as long as 25.5 hours (with roughly 5 clashes an hour) until one of the males concedes. Males do not defend territories but instead engage in battles over mating access to a particular female. Male dominance status is determined by age and horn size, with homosexual activity often occurring in groups of males with a dominant animal behaving like a courting male and the subordinate playing the role of an estrous female. Although not as good built for climbing as mountain goats, bighorn sheep zigzag up and down cliff faces with amazing ease.

They use ledges only 2 inches wide for footholds, and bounce from ledge to ledge over spans that are as wide as 20 feet. They can move over level ground at 30 miles per hour and scramble up mountainsides at 15 mph. They also swim freely, despite their massive bulk and weight of their horns.Mature populations undergo seasonal movements, using larger upland areas in summer and concentrating in protected

Nevada Law

The Desert Bighorn Sheep has a designation as Nevada’s official state animal, according to Nevada Revised Statues Chapter 235, Section 235.070.

The Nevada legislature passed a law designating the Desert Bighorn Sheep as the official Nevada state animal. The law is found in the Roberti-Roos Chapter 235, known as Title 19 of the Nevada Revised Statutes.

Local laws can vary widely depending on where you’re located, but it’s worth checking if your state has a similar statute. In Nevada, the official animal of their state is the bighorn sheep.



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