Animals Like Bighorn Sheep | 08 Animals Similar To Sheep

Last updated on December 31st, 2023 at 02:02 am

Braving rugged terrains and embodying wild elegance, animals like Bighorn sheep boast counterparts such as the Mouflon, Giant Eland, Greater Kudu, Markhor, Nubian Ibex, Gemsbok, Pronghorn, and Addax.

Bighorn sheep, despite being wild and not domesticated, are part of the broader sheep family. Living in the mountainous regions of the US and Canada, male bighorn sheep, known as rams, engage in fierce horn clashes during mating season.

Measuring up to 5.1 feet in length and weighing around 150 pounds, these herbivores have a penchant for sage, holly bush, and cacti. With a lifespan of 10-16 years, their populations faced a significant decline but rebounded after being listed as endangered in 1998, reaching 705 individuals.

What Animals Have Horns?

“True” horns, distinguished by a bony core encased in a keratinized sheath, are a unique feature exclusive to hooved animals in the families Bovidae and Antilocapridae.

Within the expansive family Bovidae, affectionately known as “bovids,” a diverse range of creatures reside. This includes antelopes, Markhor, bison, buffalo, and goat-antelopes, featuring species like sheep, Gemsbok, muskoxen, and ibexes. Each member of this family contributes to the rich tapestry of hooved wonders.

What are some animals that are like Bighorn Sheep? Read on to find out more.

8 Animals Like Bighorn Sheep

1. Mouflon

Animals Like Bighorn Sheep

Image Source Pixabay

Scientific name: Ovis gmelini

Conservation status: Near Threatened

Max horn length: 0.85m / 2.79 ft

How are they like Bighorn Sheep: Similar to Bighorn Sheep, Mouflons exhibit hierarchical social structures within their herds.

Native to eastern Europe’s Caspian region, the mouflon, a wild sheep species, is believed to be the progenitor of most contemporary domesticated sheep.

Weighing around 200 pounds and standing at three feet tall, these mid-sized mammals sport thick, reddish-colored coats.

With a lifespan of 8 to 12 years, mouflons embody the resilience of their wild heritage.

The domestication of sheep, a pivotal event between 11,000 and 9,000 B.C., marked a historic chapter. Sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated, rivaling the companionship of dogs in the early journey of human-animal partnerships.

2. Giant Eland

Animals Like Bighorn Sheep

Scientific name: Taurotragus derbianus

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Max horn length: 1.23 m / 4.04 ft.

How are they like Bighorn Sheeps: The Giant Eland, like Bighorn Sheeps, boasts distinctive features, including impressive horns and a robust physique.

The giant eland, an impressive antelope, roams the forests and savannas of Africa south of the Sahara Desert.

Claiming the title of the world’s largest antelope, it boasts a body length of up to 2.9 meters (9.51 feet) and a weight of 1,200 kilograms (2,650 pounds).

Distinguished by a reddish-brown coat adorned with narrow, vertical white stripes, the giant eland’s striking appearance extends to its horns.

Despite its grandeur, the giant eland faces conservation concerns. According to the IUCN Red List, its total population hovers around 12,000-14,000 individuals, highlighting the need for ongoing efforts to preserve this majestic species.

3. Greater Kudu

Animals Like Bighorn Sheep

Scientific name: Tragelaphus strepsiceros

Conservation status: Least Concern

Max horn length: 1.2 m / 3.94 ft.

How are they like Bighorn Sheep: Both species share certain social behaviors, contributing to their adaptation to their respective environments.

Meet the greater kudu, an African native that strikingly resembles the Bighorn Sheep. With large, round ears, a light brown coat, and a similar body shape, the greater kudu often confuses observers for its North American counterpart.

Reaching approximately 5 feet at shoulder height and weighing up to 780 pounds, the greater kudu mirrors the Bighorn’s robust stature.

With a lifespan of about 16 years, the greater kudu not only shares appearances but also showcases the endurance of its African heritage.

Indeed, they are capable of reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour when evading predators and other threats.

4. Markhor

Animals Like Bighorn Sheep

Scientific name: Capra falconeri

Conservation status: Near Threatened

Max horn length: 1.6 m / 5.25 ft.

How are they like Bighorn Sheep: While dietary preferences may differ, both species commonly share an herbivorous diet.

Markhors, among the largest wild goat species, sport long horns and reddish-gray coats. Native to central Asia, particularly the Himalayas, these herbivores graze on twigs and shrubs.

The markhor holds the distinction of being the national animal of Pakistan.

Despite their diet, their name, “snake-killer” in Persian, reflects their ability to crush venomous snakes with their massive hooves.

Females weigh 70 to 88 pounds, while males can reach up to 240 pounds. Standing between two to four feet, these mountain dwellers have a lifespan of up to 13 years. Females form herds of 30 to 100, with males joining only during the fall mating season.

5. Nubian Ibex

Animals Like Bighorn Sheep

Image Source Pixabay

Scientific name: Capra nubiana

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Max horn length: 1 m / 3.28 ft.

How are they like Bighorn Sheep: Similarities include herbivorous diets, as both species forage for vegetation native to their mountainous habitats.

Nubian ibexes exhibit polygynous behavior, with males mating with multiple females. During the six- to eight-week rut in the breeding season, males join female herds. After a gestation period of 150-165 days, typically between May and June, females give birth to one or occasionally two young.

The IUCN Red List notes the total Nubian ibex population is less than 5,000 mature individuals.

These ibexes are equipped with strong hind legs, using them for defense against predators. Remarkably, Nubian ibex kids are born well-developed, showcasing their agility by jumping and running within a day after birth.

Read Also: Animals like Gayal

6. Gemsbok

Image Source Pixabay

Scientific name: Oryx gazella

Conservation status: Least Concern

Max horn length: 0.85 m / 2.79 ft.

How are they like Bighorn Sheep: Both species share certain social behaviors, contributing to their survival in arid and challenging habitats.

The gemsbok, scientifically known as Oryx gazella, is a sizable antelope indigenous to the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa.

Recognizable by their long, black tails, robust necks, and shoulders, gemsboks sport a grayish to light brown coat adorned with prominent black and white markings on the body and face. As herbivores, their diet consists mainly of grasses, leaves, and shrubs.

Standing at approximately 3.9 feet tall at the shoulders and boasting a body length ranging between 75 to 94 inches, gemsboks are characterized by their small heads and most notably, 33-inch long, straight horns.

These distinctive features contribute to the unique and striking appearance of this remarkable desert-dwelling antelope.

7. Pronghorn

Image Source Pixabay

Scientific name: Antilocapra americana

Conservation status: Least Concern

Max horn length: 0.43 m / 1.41 ft.

How are they like Bighorn Sheep: Both species share certain social behaviors, though their sizes and habitats differ.

Thriving across the western United States and Canada, the pronghorn is a diminutive, horned mammal.

Weighing between 90 and 120 pounds and standing at approximately three and a half feet tall, pronghorns, due to their size and habitat in expansive spaces like grassy plains, become vulnerable to predators.

Commonly known as the American antelope or prongbuck, the pronghorn distinguishes itself by not belonging to the deer or antelope families. It holds its unique taxonomic family classification, Antilocapridae.

Despite their vulnerability, pronghorns boast an impressive feat—they hold the title of the fastest land animals in the entire Western Hemisphere. Clocking speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, can sustain remarkable velocities of 30 to 40 miles per hour for extended distances. Notably, the pronghorn ranks as the world’s third-fastest land animal, following the cheetah and ostrich.

8. Addax

Image Source Pixabay

Scientific name: Addax nasomaculatus

Conservation status: Critically Endangered

Max horn length: 1 m / 3.28 ft.

How are they like Bighorn Sheep: The Addax shares certain characteristics with Bighorn Sheep, including distinctive horns and a robust physique.

The addax, also known as the screwhorn antelope, resides in Africa’s Sahara Desert.

Characterized by its long, gently spiraled horns, this large, slow-moving desert antelope can endure extended periods without water, extracting what it needs from plants.

Sporting a pale coat that reflects the sun’s heat, the addax faces a critical situation, with fewer than 90 adults remaining in the wild due to overhunting, leading to its status as Critically Endangered.

In Conclusion

The animals mentioned in this article share traits that make them much like the Bighorn Sheep.Their body shape, size, coloring, ears, and expansive horns contribute to the perception of them as relatives. Intriguingly, these Bighorn Sheep look-alikes are scattered across the globe, inhabiting diverse habitats.

Regardless of their geographic location, they all share a common trait—herbivorous diets. These mammals forage for vegetation native to their respective habitats, emphasizing the fascinating convergence of traits across various species.


1. What are the characteristics that make these animals look like Bighorn Sheep?

Shared traits such as body shape, size, coloring, ears, and distinctive horns contribute to the visual resemblance of these animals to Bighorn Sheep.

2. How fast can pronghorns, one of the look-alikes, run?

Pronghorns are the fastest land animals in the western hemisphere, reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.


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