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Friday, October 2, 2009

Marilyn Brasfield brasfield

Bighorn Sheep Playground

Last weekend some friends went camping near Sandy Beach at Lake Mead. It was a guys’ get-a-way–days of water skiing and nights around a campfire with beer and roast beast. A relaxing good time. One day a herd of 50 or more Desert Big Horn Sheep grazed their way through the terrain. Nature’s rock climbing commandos at their ease. What a sight!

Photo by Steve Murphy at Lake Mead

Photo by Steve Murphy at Lake Mead

About 200 sheep live in a territory that covers the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and a chunk of Arizona. The Desert Sheep are slightly smaller than Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep, but every bit as majestic.

You do not have to climb a mountain or even go to Lake Mead to see these elusive legends of the West. There is a little residential park where the sheep habitually browse. From Las Vegas, drive south on Boulder Highway. Continue on Interstate 93 to Boulder City. Turn left at Ville Drive. Look for the neighborhood playground about half a mile down the road on the right. There are usually about 20 sheep grazing and a small, hushed audience watching.

Photo by Steve Murphy at Lake Mead

Photo by Steve Murphy at Lake Mead

The Lake Mead Area staff caution visitors to remember the sheep are not tame. They butt heads at 50 mph with 2400 lbs. of force.

Do not get too close.

Do not feed them anything.

Photo by Steve Murphy at Lake Mead

Photo by Steve Murphy at Lake Mead

To get acquainted with Big Horn Sheep before sight seeing, go to:
National Big Horn Sheep Interpretive Center
Endangered Peninsular Big Horn Sheep
Desert USA, Big Horn Sheep
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Species Profile
Animal Diversity Web


3 Responses to “Bighorn Sheep Playground”
  1. Mark Sedenquist says:

    Wow, great photos. I’ve captured some cool shots over the years, but those are great and a nice post for this time of year!

  2. Verne Lewton says:

    Very interesting article. As a long time resident, I never realized there was a difference between desert sheep and mountain sheep.

  3. Aren’t those rugged looking animals. Their descent must be an amazing tale of adaptation and survival.