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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Argali Facts You’ll Never Forget

Read these argali facts to learn about the wild sheep that live in the mountains of Mongolia and Kazakhstan.

Argali (Ovis ammon) is the largest wild sheep found in the mountains of Southeast Asia. Argali is the Mongolian word for wild sheep. The female, or ewe, is much smaller when compared to the males and weigh only half as much as the males. Argalis live in herds of two to 150 animals which consists mostly of females and younger argalis. Male argalis make up only 20 percent of the total population of the herd. Male argalis, or rams, are known to form smaller herds of between three to 30 individuals. Many are known to be solitary. Adult argali are known to eat 35-42 lb (15-19 kg) of food in one day. Argalis Endangered status is primarily due to rampant ranching and hunting. The attraction of having trophy specimens is very strong among serious sport hunters who engage in argali sheep hunts.

The larger male argali are known to be poor jumpers and when in the face of danger they cannot escape by jumping, but the smaller females and younger animals can. They have strong, powerful legs, which lets them tackle any kind of terrain. They climb high hills or steep slopes to protect themselves from attacks. Argalis have many subspecies, including marco polo argali, altai argali, and more.

After reading about this wild species, you may also look at bharal facts and mountain goat facts.

Argali Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an argali?

Argali (Ovis ammon) is a type of wild sheep. It is the largest sheep in the world found in central, southeast and south Asia.

What class of animal does an argali belong to?

Argalis (Ovis ammon) belong to the mammal class of animals as they give birth to offspring like all mammals.

How many argalis are there in the world?

The population of altai argali is declining rapidly throughout their habitats in Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Tibet. Efforts are being made to increase the population by improving their habitat and stopping illegal hunting of the males. The exact number of argalis is difficult to find, but each country is doing its best to save their subspecies of argalis.

Where does an argali live?

Argali (Ovis ammon) sheep are found around elevations in Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, Tibet and the Himalayas. They are also found near Afghanistan. Members of this species are recognized by their signature argali horns and live in mountainous regions.

What is an argali's habitat?

Argalis are found in the mountains of central, south and southeast Asia, especially in the regions of Mongolia and Kazakhstan. This species are known to spend their entire life in the region of their birth. The subspecies are found on high mountains and steep slopes. Males are often found in more exposed, greener lands where food is abundant. As summer approaches, the animals climb towards higher elevation.

Who do argalis live with?

Argalis live in herds of two to 150 animals whose population consists mostly of females and younger argalis. Male argalis, or rams, are known to form smaller herds of three to 30 individuals. Many are known to be solitary.

How long does an argali live?

The average lifespan of an argali is ten to 13 years. Some subspecies could live up to the age of 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

The mating pattern of argalis is polygynandrous. Male argali use their horns to compete with other males for the female's attention. The males will mate with numerous females during the mating season. If the opportunity arises, the female will mate with multiple males too. Their courting habits are known to be extremely aggressive as the large males will run into each other and smash their horns together in intense combat. The rut occurs in autumn or early winter so that the lambs are born in late spring. Females will separate themselves for a few days while giving birth after a gestation period of 150 to 180 days. The lambs are precocial at birth and gain body mass quickly. Mothers will care for the lambs for the first four months, and then they go on to form their own groups.

What is their conservation status?

Their conservation status is Near Threatened in most of the region. Sport hunting is damaging their population. The head of the male argali is considered a prized possession by many hunting enthusiasts. The recent loss of habitat is also a major concern for the argali population.  

Argali Fun Facts

What do argali look like?

Argalis are large animals with light yellow, reddish brown, or a dark gray colored coat. During the summer time, their coat is lightly spotted with a salt and pepper pattern. Males are recognized by their two large corkscrew shaped horns measuring 72 in (6 ft) and weighing around 50 lb (22 kg). The females also carry horns, but they are much smaller and measure only 24 in (2 ft). While argalis have long horns, they do not ram them often.

Argali have long horns.

How cute are they?

Argalis may be cute for all, but they are definitely large animals who are important to the ecosystem of their original habitats.

How do they communicate?

Argalis are known to communicate by making hissing sounds through their nostrils and grunts from their throats. The mother communicates with her young ones by visual, oral, and scent confirmations. Male argalis can smell a fertile female during the mating season. They also use visual communication to confirm if they want to join a particular group or not.

How big is an argali?

Argalis are the largest sheep on earth. The average size of an argali is 61-79 in (5.1-6.6 ft) while the average height is 33-57 in (2.8-4.8 ft). Females are much smaller than males in terms of body size and height.

How fast can an argali run?

Argalis can run up to a speed of 40 mph (64 kmph). They have strong legs to help them run on any kind of land.

How much does an argali weigh?

The males weigh between 220-440 lb (99-199 kg) and the females weigh between 95-220 lb (43-99 kg). Being the largest sheep in the world means that they have a high body mass too.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male argalis are called bucks or rams. Female argalis are called ewes or dams.

What would you call a baby argali?

Baby argalis are called lamb or lambskin. They are sometimes also referred to as young argali.

What do they eat?

These animals are herbivores in terms of diet. Argali diet comprises grasses, herbs and sedges.

Are they loud?

Argali may be loud during the mating season or while herding. The mother may use vocal communication to guide her younger one.

Would they make a good pet?

Argalis are an endangered species and should be protected at any cost. Their habitat restoration and the curb on illegal hunting will help to increase their population. But more efforts are required to ensure their safety.

Did you know...

Argali males stand on their back foot to slam their horns into each other during rutting. Argalis milk content consists of 6% percent fat to keep the baby argali warm. When required, argali may get their nutrients from salty dirt found in the caves on the mountains.

How to pronounce argali?

It is very simple to pronounce the word argali. However, it may sound confusing at the beginning. So, the correct way to pronounce it is 'r-ga-li'.

What kind of biome does the argali live in?

Argali (Ovis ammon) can live in extreme cold, arid climates on higher elevations where there is a possibility of sudden snow or rain. All subspecies can survive in extreme habitats.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including capuchin monkey, or zebra.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our argali coloring pages.

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