Is that animal with the curly horn a goat or a sheep?
The animal with the curly horn here at the Grand Canyon is a BIG HORN SHEEP. And you are correct when you mentioned the HORN. Deer and elk have ANTLERS that fall off every year and new ones grown the following season. Sheep keep their HORNS forever, and every year they grow larger, sometimes reaching 40 pounds. The big horn sheep are quite remarkable animals, adapted to canyon life in many ways. They have soft padded hooves that cling to the rocks as they jump from one rock to the next without even thinking about the danger of falling. And what about the lack of water in the canyon cliffs? A big horn sheep can lose 30% of its body weight with no problem and then drink that same amount of water the next time down to the river! Isn’t that incredible? Puts the camel to shame.
If you meet a big horn sheep of the trail (and many hikers have had the experience) just step to the inside of the trail and stand quietly with your back to the wall. The big horn sheep will slowly walk by you, keeping an eye on you. And you will have made a wildlife memory that will be yours forever. You will only realize after the sheep has passed that you have forgotten to breathe.
About the Author
Joy taught environmental sciences at Southern Vermont College and became active in outdoor land use. Joy now lives ‘off-the-grid’ near the Grand Canyon on an acreage with solar power, and hauls water for her own needs and for her struggling raised-bed desert garden, dogs, cat, chickens, and Garrett-the-goose. Joy has rafted the Colorado River from Moab to Lake Mead, hiked many of the trails, and stayed at Phantom Ranch several times either by hiking or by mule. Learning and reading is her passion, and she is constantly learning more about the Grand Canyon.
Joy is well traveled but never found a place that was more well suited for her than the Grand Canyon. This is her home. Stop in the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and allow her to share her home with you.