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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Did You Know? Incredible Bharal Facts

Bharal facts on the Himalayan blue sheep.

Bharalas are also commonly known as blue sheep and are native to the Himalayas. Bharals are broadly distributed across the Tibetan plateau. Bharal is known to be the major prey of a snow leopard. Blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur) are medium in size and are covered in a dense coat to protect them from the winter season. Pseudois nayaur or P. nayaur is active throughout the day like a wild sheep on the grassy mountain slopes.  The distinguishing feature of these sheeps is their horns which in males, grow upwards, then turn sideways and eventually curve backwards, appearing like an upside-down moustache. In the females, the horns are slightly smaller. In absence of cover while grazing, they turn motionless to fool predators with their rock face and rock colored body. The major threat facing them are predators and competition of food with livestock.

Bharals (Genus Pseudois) are active throughout the day. Bharal is a Hindi name of the breed, whereas the name blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur) is a reference to the bluish sheen in their coat. Despite the fact that they are known as blue sheep, they are neither blue in color nor do they look like sheep. Bharals are more closely related to goats than sheep. After reading these interesting Bharal facts on the Himalayan blue sheep, do check out our other articles on Alpine ibex and mountain goat.

Bharal Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a bharal?

Bharal is a type of blue sheep. They like to remain active on grassy mountain slopes during the day, feeding and resting, and doing other activities. Their coat and their rock face make offer them camouflage cover in their environment. Bharal use this property to protect themselves from other predators. They also tend to lie motionless when approached by predators in the absence of cover.

What class of animal does a bharal belong to?

Bharals belong to a class of mammals. They are either of two species of sheep like mammals, the family Bovidae.

How many bharals are there in the world?

There is no accurate count so as to how many bharals are there in the world. The Helan Mountains of Ningxia have the highest number of bharals in the world.

Where does a bharal live?

Bharals usually like to live in open grassy slopes in high mountains and near cliffs. They like feeding and resting on the grassy slopes where they take cover in their environment and lie motionless when approached.

What is a bharal's habitat?

Bharal’s habitat includes open grassy slopes in the high mountains and near cliffs. They usually avoid going to the forested areas and prefer resting on the grassy slopes. Bharal population is found along the precipitous cliffs during winters.

Who do bharals live with?

Bharals prefer to live in huge groups, and the sizes range from 5-400 individuals. The range of the herds depends on the population size, habitat condition, hunting pressure, and disturbance. If a bharal is seen walking alone, the others join and walk in a herd.

How long does a bharal live?

Bharals have a lifespan of 24 years in the wild and 20.9 years in captivity. The lifespan also varies according to the weather conditions, environmental factors, and its surroundings where they live. Their lifespan also depends on the food and the nutrition that they eat from their diet.

How do they reproduce?

Their rutting season goes on from November to January. When the rut is happening, the males use different strategies for mating, that is, trending, blocking, and coursing. Once the mating is done, the lambs are born in late June or July.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of bharals is of the least concern as this species is found in adequate numbers across a wide geographical terrain.

Bharal Fun Facts

What do bharals look like?

The male bharals are usually larger than females in size. Their dense coat is covered in slate grey in color and sometimes comes with a bluish sheen. Their legs’ underparts and backs are white, while their chest and the front of the legs are black in color.

Bharal faces danger from poachers looking for bharal skin.

How cute are they?

Bharals do look cute because of their facial appearance. Some might also get scared when they look at a bharal as it has horns and can attack you when they get aggressive.

How do they communicate?

Bharals can be seen locking their horns with other goats, which can be seen as a form of communication between them. However, they use their horns mainly to defend themselves.

How big is a bharal?

Bharals are 1.3 m in length and are medium-sized compared to the other species of the animals that belong to their class.

How fast can a bharal move?

Bharals stray further than 200m from a cliff and use them as an escape route from the predators. They move rapidly around the rocky, precipitous cliffs of the Himalayan mountains.

How much does a bharal weigh?

Bharals weigh around 52 kg. A female bharal weighs less than a male bharal as females don’t have horns on their heads. They are also somewhat lighter than males.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The males of the species will be called a male bharal and the females of the bharals is bharals.

What would you call a baby bharal?

The baby bharal is called lamb.

What do they eat?

Bharals eat dry grasses in winter and alpine grasses in the summer. The blue sheep show seasonal changes in the diet.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous, but one might get scared as they have horns which they might use to attack you. But, many of the Buddhist monasteries protect the bharals that they found around them.

Would they make a good pet?

Bharals are not meant to be kept as pets in the house as they are found in the Himalayas. They are believed to be good creatures but keeping them as a pet would trouble you. Therefore, it is not advisable to have bharals as pets as they need space to roam around.

Did you know...

The DNA of the bharals shows that they are much related to goats rather than sheep. They are known as masters of disguise. They have horns that grow upwards and curve out and then towards the back. They do not enter the forest areas as they have greyish colors to camouflage.

Is the bharal going extinct?

No, bharals are not going extinct. The population of bharals is said to be healthy and this is one of the reasons that they are hunted by people. They face certain threats that include poaching, but poaching is uncommon due to certain unsuitable conditions.

Naming the bharal

Bharals are known as "Blue Sheep" because of the bluish sheen that is present in their coat. Though being called blue sheep, they are neither blue in color nor do they look like sheep.

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 asiatic lion, or plains zebra.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Bharal(Blue Sheep) coloring pages.

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