Barbary Sheep

Barbary Sheep



COMMON NAME: Barbary Sheep
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Artiodactyla
FAMILY: Bovidae
GENUS SPECIES: Ammotragus lervia


DESCRIPTION: The Barbary sheep has a long, vertical fringe of hair extending from the throat region to the upper part of the front legs. It also has long back-curved horns.
MALE The horns of males are slightly longer than those of females
SIZE: Approximately 0.91-1.1 m (3-3.5 ft.) tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: Approximately 45.5 kg (100 lb.)
DIET: Graze on a variety of grasses, shrubs, flowers, young plants, and leaves
GESTATION: Mating takes place throughout the year, but mostly occurs from September through November. Gestation lasts approximately 154-161 days. A single offspring is typical, although twins are also common.
SEXUAL MATURITY: About 18 months
LIFE SPAN: Have been known to live as much as 20 years
RANGE: Barbary sheep were originally native to the Barbary coast in Africa including Morocco, the Western Sahara, Egypt, and Sudan. Some populations have been introduced to North America.
HABITAT: Native to rocky, dry, mountain areas
STATUS: IUCN Vulnerable
CITES Appendix II
USFWS Not listed


1. Sheep are grazers, chewing their cud. They have a four-chambered stomach that allows them to ruminate.
2. Male sheep are called rams. Females are called ewes.
3. Barbary sheep live in arid environments and acquire much of their water from the plants they eat. However, they will readily drink water if it is available.


Barbary sheep populations have declined drastically over much of their native range due to hunting for their skins, meat, and sinew.

In some areas where Barbary sheep have been introduced, there is concern that they may compete with the native bighorn sheep for food resources.


MacDonald, D. The Encyclopedia of Mammals: 2. London: George Allen & Unwin Co., 1985.

Nowak, R. M. Walker's Mammals of the World. 6th edition. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

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