Aoudad

QUICK FACTS

Scientific Name

Ammotragus lervia

Species Survival Plan

Yes

Habitat

Desert, dry mountainous

Predators

Mountain lion, leopard, caracal, coyote and man

Food

Grasses, bushes and herbs

Originally Native To

North Africa, Morocco and Western Sahara to Egypt and Sudan

Height

36 inches at shoulder

Weight

Male 200 lb.
Female 100 lb.

Characteristics

Sheep with long fringe from throat and forequarters; semicircular horns on both sexes

Gestation Period

5 - 5.5 months

Offspring

1 - 2 lambs

Birth Season

March - May

Lifespan

Wild 10 years
Captivity 20 years

Social Behavior

Small family groups

iucn_badge_vulnerable

About Aoudad

Aoudads, also known as Barbary sheep, are the only wild sheep in Africa.

They were brought to the U.S. in the early 1900s for exhibition in zoos and parks. They were quite successful at reproducing in captivity, resulting in excess animals. These surplus sheep were used to establish populations on private and public lands in suitable habitat. Free-ranging populations currently exist in California, New Mexico and Texas.

While introduced populations in the U.S. and Spain are flourishing, their populations in Africa are declining due to hunting and habitat loss. People native to the Sahara take a toll on the population because it is an important source of meat. The hide, hair and sinews are also valuable in the desert economy.

The aoudad has a fringe of long, soft hair hanging from its throat and forequarters, as well as semicircular horns that curve outward, back and then inward over the neck. Both fringe and horns are more pronounced in the male. Its eyes could be considered its most remarkable feature with horizontal pupils surrounded by brilliant yellow irises.

The aoudad is a very agile climber and jumper that resides high in rocky terrain, active during dawn and dusk and resting in shade during the heat of the day. While primarily a grazer, it also browses. Generally, they obtain needed moisture from their food and can go without water for long periods of time.

MEET THE NEIGHBORS

  • Waterbuck

    Waterbuck are found in southeastern, central and western Africa. When exposed to a high level of human activity, they will become almost completely nocturnal, only...

    Read More
  • Scimitar-Horned Oryx

    The scimitar-horned oryx once again roams the grasslands of Chad. Extinct in the wild in the late 1980s, 23 animals were released to native habitat...

    Read More
  • Roan

    Roan, the fourth-largest antelopes in Africa, are usually active in the morning, late afternoon and evening. The roan is associated with woodland savannas, but is...

    Read More
  • Ostrich

    The ostrich is the world’s largest living bird. Its weight, small wings and weak wing muscles combine to make it flightless. Ostriches use their wings...

    Read More
  • Grevy’s Zebra

    This zebra is named for Jules Grevy, a French president who received one from the king of Ethiopia as a gift in the 1880s. It...

    Read More
  • Greater Kudu

    Very large antelopes, the male kudu have thick, spiraled horns that can reach six feet in length. Sexually dimorphic, only the males have horns and...

    Read More
  • Giraffe

    Giraffes are the tallest living land mammals, and although it looks like their hind legs are shorter, all four legs are almost the same length....

    Read More
  • Cheetah

    The sleek cheetah is built for speed and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in seconds. However, it can run only 600 yards before it is...

    Read More
  • Arabian Oryx

    The oryx is one of the best desert-adapted large mammals, capable of living in a waterless habitat where few other species can survive. They can...

    Read More
  • African Spurred Tortoise

    Very little is known about African Spurred Tortoises in the wild due to lack of field research. They are solitary creatures that live in some...

    Read More

ANYTHING YOU GIVE HELPS THE ANIMALS

As a private nonprofit corporation, Fossil Rim does not receive national or state government support. Every cent spent or donated here goes in some way, directly or indirectly, toward the care of our animals.