The aoudad (Ammotragus lervia) is called the Barbary "Sheep", but it is not really a sheep. They come from North Africa on the Barbary Coast, and that is where they get their name. The aoudad evenly bridges the biological distance between sheep and goats, but they are a true species, and not a hybrid. They have the traits of both sheep and goats, and the proteins in their blood are 50% like sheep's and 50% like goats'.

On this aoudad you can see the huge horn bases, the impressive neck mane, on the back and front, and the chaps.

Aoudads are large animals with the average male weighing around 200lbs, but they can go from 110 to 350lbs. Male heights are 36 to 39", with the females usually five inches shorter than the males. Their weights range from 90 to 125lbs. Aoudads are tan with a large neck mane on the front and the back of their necks, and they have unusual tufts of hair, called chaps, that encircle their front legs.

The female aoudads have horns as well as the males. The horns are impressinve with a wide base a backward curl that gooes upward and outward. The horns are ridged on the front surface.

The record for aoudad horns is 36.6", and exceptional bases can reach 14 to 16". Female horns can sometimes be larger than the males'! The females size range is 12 to 27", while male horns can be from 14 to 36". The more common male lengths though are 26 to 32".

The aoudads' first choice of feed is forbs, but they are adaptable, and will easily switch to grass, and when grass is not available they go on to eat browse. Unlike sheep, the aoudads are resistant to parasites and disease. This in addition their dietary adaptability makes them strong survivors.

These are two male aoudads, but the females are not noticeably different.

Socially, aoudads form groups of females and young adult males, usually with a female leader. The older males join up in bachelor groups. During the rut, however, the male groups break up, and then mixed groups form, then, in the rut, the dominant males usually become the leaders. The rutting males spar much as sheep do with pushing and head butting that produces earth shaking cracking sounds. While the wild aoudads adhere to a seasonal breeding cycle, in captivity births can occur at anytime of the year.
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