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Do Rams Get Concussions?

Rams have brains that are well protected against injuries and concussions, so they rarely get them. They might happen in some very rare cases, but even after long periods of headbutting, the ram’s brains will remain functional and will rarely suffer from concussions.

The main reason for this is the structure of their brains. They are programmed so that the blood flow is adjusted so that the brains are never left without blood and oxygen. The blood flow from the brain to the body is slowed down, and the neck muscles take the brunt of these blows, so the brains are almost not impacted at all.

Do Rams Get Concussions

Do Rams Ever Get Concussions?

While rams can get concussions, it is very rare for this to happen. Their heads and brains are made for direct blows and they will be able to withstand heavy blows for hours before they suffer from any consequences.

But how is it possible that rams never get concussions, even after heavy blows against one another? When you’re looking from afar, you think these blows would be enough to injure someone seriously.

Some animals with bigger horns, such as Bighorn sheep rams, will seldom suffer from concussions. Their brains are well protected by the big and sturdy horns, which are often more than enough to prevent concussions. The structure of these horns allows them to withstand most of the blows.

Additionally, research shows that rams don’t get concussions because the neck muscles are stronger than with most other animals, so they will absorb a lot of force from the blow.

When two rams lock horns and exchange blows, the neck muscles will soften the blow and enable the ram not to suffer any serious consequences.

The bottom line is that rams are evolutionarily made to withstand heavy blows against their skulls thanks to several mechanisms. Their head structure, neck muscles, and blood flow mechanisms allow them to stay present even after they exchange heavy blows with another ram.

Read Also: Differences Between Rams and Goats

Why Do Rams not Get Concussions?

It is for three different reasons:

  • They have strong neck muscles
  • Their large horns protect their skull and their brains from the impact
  • They slow down the blood flow from the head to the body, allowing the brain to function despite heavy blows

These three main mechanisms allow rams to stay fighting other rams despite receiving countless heavy blows in their heads. They can lock horns with other rams for several hours before one rams gives in or loses the fight, but almost never will one ram lose because of a concussion.

The main protection against the blows is the horns. These are made of keratin and are incredibly sturdy. The horns of a ram will vary depending on the breed; for example, Bighorn rams have stronger and larger horns than most other ram breeds, although all rams have sturdy horns.

Rams also have incredibly strong neck muscles. These neck muscles are specifically made for headbutting other rams, so the rams would almost never suffer from concussions or damage because of these heavy blows. The neck would absorb most of the impact caused by the headbutting.

Last but not least, rams can also control the blood flow from the head to the body. Thanks to these mechanisms, they can slow down the blood flow from the head to the body, which allows the blood to stay inside the brain even in case of heavy blows.

And thanks to that, rams would be able to stay present and prevent concussions despite these blows.

Related: A List of Animals with Horns

Can Rams Break their Skulls?

While damage to the skull of the ram might happen, it is extremely rare for the ram to have their skull broken, even if they headbutt each other for hours and hours.

The first reason for this is the strong and hard shell of the skull. It is thick and made of extremely thick bone, which is made specifically to deal with these heavy blows. So even after exchanging very heavy blows with other rams, a ram would not break its skull.

The second reason is the horns. Not only are the horns made of keratin, which is made specifically for heavy blows, but they also soften the blow significantly. The horns will make the blows much less significant and will not cause any damage to the skull or the brain, and they’re also good for attacking other rams.

The last and even more significant reason that rams don’t break their skulls or suffer from concussions is the strong neck muscles and the tendons. These tendons soften the blows significantly and instead, the power of the blow goes through the neck muscle instead of going through the head and the brain completely.

All of these features of a ram allow the ram to stay injury-free even if it is bashing its head against another ram’s head for prolonged periods.

Related: What do Rams Eat?

Do Bighorn Sheep Get Concussions?

No, Bighorn sheep will not get concussions after exchanging blows with another ram or after fighting another animal using its horns.

Just like other rams, Bighorn rams also have several adaptations that allow them to withstand heavy blows and survive other rams trying to attack them with their horns. 

Related Article: Ram vs Bull

One of the main features that a Bighorn ram has compared to other rams is its large horns. These horns are larger than with the majority of other sheep breeds, so they will protect their heads even more against stronger blows. They’re the main reason why Bighorn sheep don’t suffer concussions.

And even female bighorn sheep have horns.

And of course, Bighorn rams also have the same adaptations that you’ll see in other rams, such as strong neck muscles and the change of blood flow speed in case of heavy blows, which will prevent concussions.

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Final Thoughts

Rams assert dominance over other rams by headbutting and trying to win the battle against another ram. The one who lasts longer is usually the winner of the fight and is considered to be more dominant than the rest. With a series of body adaptations, rams are able to withstand heavy blows without suffering from concussions.

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