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Denver Zoo's sheep baby daddys are working overtime: Five new lambs!

Categories: News

big horn parent with baby.jpg
Denver Zoo
"What's up, Ma?"
You know what's the most effing adorable thing ever?

Baby sheep.

And maybe baby monkeys and baby giraffes and horny polar bears named Cranbeary.

But definitely not naked mole rats.

And the best place to oogle baby sheep this summer will be the Denver Zoo, seeing as how five of 'em were just born.

Two are Dall sheep; the other three are Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep. The three bighorns have three different mothers, but only one father: Cliff. The same goes for the Dalls, who have separate moms, but share a dad named Ridge.

The gender of the zoo's two sets of half-siblings won't be known until after they receive their first vaccinations. Once the zoo figures out whether the five are boys or girls, they'll also name them. When it comes to sheep-naming, it seems zookeepers favor manly names for boys and grandma names, names reserved for vampire slayers and names associated with underwater squirrels for girls, given that the babies' mothers are named Roberta, Mona, Ivory, Sandy and Buffy.

Here's more fun sheep facts and effing adorable photos.

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Dave Parsons/Denver Zoo
The three bighorn babies.

Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep are found in the Rocky Mountains from southern Canada to Colorado. They are typically brown or beige in appearance. As their name implies, males have massive horns on their heads which can weigh as much as fifty pounds.

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Dave Parsons/Denver Zoo

Dall sheep are found throughout Alaska, the Yukon, Northwest Territories and the northwest part of British Columbia. They have thick, nearly pure-white fur, which not only keeps them warm during the winter, but also provides camouflage against their snowy, rocky habitat.

bighorn_lambs_1_opt.jpg
Dave Parsons/Denver Zoo
"I'm king of the ... Dad!"

Spring births are quite normal for both species. Their lambs are very active immediately after birth. In the wild, they must be able to run, climb and jump effectively within minutes after their birth in order to keep up with their mother.

But the number of births for bighorns aren't keeping up with the number of deaths. The Colorado Division of Wildlife says the state's bighorn sheep numbers fell more than 10 percent between 2001 and 2009, equaling almost 800 sheep. Believed causes include loss of habitat, hunting and disease. Federal biologists also believe competition with mountain goats will further stress the bighorns.

Hey, goats! Leave them sheep alone!



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