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Big Bend

“I’m Thirsty!”

Do you like math? See if you can calculate how much water Big Horn Sheep need!

The desert bighorn sheep lives where it is dry and hot with sparse vegetation. The bighorn sheep have adaptated to this environment. During the hottest summer months ewes (females) and lambs go to waterholes almost daily. Rams (males) sometimes do not go to watering holes for nearly a week at a time. These rams may range 20 miles away from the waterhole, and then travel the 20 miles back again for another drink! Adding approximately 5 miles traveled per day during the week and you have almost 65 miles between drinks! It is believed that the rams drink four gallons of water at a time, while ewes drink about one gallon and a lamb drinks two pints.

  1. How many miles to the gallon does a ram get?
  2. How much water would a ram need for a month?
  3. How much would one ewe drink in a week?
  4. How much water would a lamb drink in a week?

Challenge question: Why do you think water needs are different among rams, ewes, and lambs? What would happen if we disturbed the ram's habitat -- for example, what would happen if we build a busy highway in the middle of his range?

answers to the math questions