Argali is the largest wild sheep that inhabits the highlands of Central Asia. The name ‘Argali’ has come from the Mongolian word for ‘ram’. In fact, an image of the sheep also features alongside the first sun sign of the zodiac - Aries, as its symbol. Argali is a variable colored animal, having shades that can range from a light buff to darker grey-brown, with the older sheep also possessing white color in-between. The animal has whitish underparts, with a face that is lighter in color as compared to the whole body. Argali lives in herds, segregated by sex, with 2 to 100 members in each heard. The animal is hunted for its meat and horns (heavily prized), both of which are used in traditional Chinese medicine (the latter are also used for making trophies). Today, Argali has been categorized amongst the vulnerable species (IUCN, 2000). Read on to know more interesting facts and amazing information about this mountain sheep.
Facts About Argali
Species: O. ammon
Subspecies: Altai argali, Karaganda argali, Gobi argali, Tibetan argali, North China argali, Tian Shan argali, Kara Tau argali, Marco Polo argali and Severtzov argali
Height: 90-120 cm / 3-4 ft
Weight: 65 -180 kg
Life Span: 10-13 years
Diet: Grasses, herbs, sedges
Range: Throughout Central Asia
Habitat: Mountainous areas (between 1,300 and 6,100 meters above sea level), where there are dry alpine habitats
Age of Sexual Maturity: Female - 2 years/ Male - 5 years
Gestation Period: 150-160 days
Number of Offspring: 1- 2
Interesting & Amazing Information On Argali
- Argali inhabits the mountain regions of Central Asia and is usually found at altitudes of 1000 meters and above.
- The sheep can be about 4 to 6½ ft in length, weighing from 130 pounds to 350 pounds.
- The males can be distinguished from the females, with the former having white scruff on the neck and a dorsal crest.
- Both the male and female argali have horns; however, the males have more impressive horns than the females. Moreover, the horns of females are smaller than those of the males.
- The animal prefers to live in herds of single sex and only comes together during the mating season. However, the males will fight with one another, using horns, for the female.
- A female argali separates itself from the male herd, to give birth to the young ones. At birth, an infant argali weighs the same as human infants i.e. around seven to eight pounds.
- After their birth, the young ones remain hidden in the grass, while the mother feeds them.
- The lifespan of an argali, in its natural habitat, is around 17 years.
- Argali (especially males) migrate seasonally, with a trend to live at higher elevations in the summer.
- The sheep has long legs that help it in traveling swiftly from place to place and also in fleeing from predators in the rough areas of mountains.
- The nine different subspecies of argali differ from each other, in terms of appearance as well as range.
- The sheep can give out a warning hiss and alarming whistle, by blowing air through its nostrils.