Tushetian Sheep

The Tushetian Sheep (Ovis aries musimon) is a ruminant mammal in the Bovidae family. It is an artiodactyla – an even-toed ungulate (hoofed mammal). It is a sub-species of the primitive Domestic Sheep (Ovis aries). It is similar to the Near East Sheep and it is also known as the European Mouflon.

The Tushetian Sheep has a smooth, long, well-developed woolly coat. Its face is not woolly. It has a small, fat, woolly tail. It has long ears. The male is red-brown in summer with a white saddle patch or more white areas. The female is brownish. Both the male and female are darker in winter. The male has helix-shaped horns, but the female does not have horns.

Tushetian Sheep

It grows to about 120 centimetres (45 inches) in length and 90 centimetres (35 inches) tall to shoulder height. Its tail is about 10-20 centimetres (4-8 inches) long. The male’s horns are up to 80 centimetres (31 inches) long.

It is found in the eastern region of Georgia. 

It is an herbivorous grazer, feeding on grass. When the Tushetian Sheep grazes, it chews its food into a ball, called a bolus, before the food goes to its stomach. The bolus can be regurgitated and re-eaten, which is called cud. 

It is diurnal, active during the day. 

The Tushetian Sheep lives in flocks with a dominant hierarchy, and will generally follow a leader, a dominant member. 

The adult female (ewe), and the male (ram) have 1-2 young, called a lamb. The female is pregnant for about five months (150 days) before giving birth. She feeds milk to her lambs. 

The life expectancy of the Tushetian Sheep is 10-12 years.

Tushetian Sheep

Location of photographs: Kakheti, Georgia

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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