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Where Do Sheep Live?

Where Do Sheep Live

In the wild, sheep prefer to live in mountainous habitats with a lot of grassy areas. They can easily survive in more extreme climates thanks to their thick coats and their climbing capabilities. In captivity, sheep live in sheep farms and sheep pens, as well as mixed farms.

Sheep live throughout the entire world. You’ll find sheep on almost any continent, from Europe, North, South America, to Asia, Africa, and Australia. Most sheep prefer higher habitats with harsher climates where they don’t have a lot of predators. Domestic sheep are kept in sheep pens or sheep farms.

Where Do Sheep Live in the Wild?

sheep

In the wild, sheep live in higher habitats with a lot of grasslands. Mountains, hills, vast grasslands, plateaus, and other upland habitats are some of the most common types of habitats where you’ll find sheep. Most wild sheep breeds prefer harsh to extreme climate conditions.

Sheep are very hardy and sturdy animals. They can live and survive in very cold and windy habitats thanks to their thick winter coats. They get easily used to these types of habitats because of their thick wool and their ability to survive in harsh conditions. 

sheep eating

They’re also very frugal. A typical sheep might go up to two weeks without food, but the good news for the sheep is that they have food easily available almost everywhere in their habitats.

That’s because most of them live in grasslands and other grassy areas, and sheep eat grass, so they have food readily available.

Wild sheep prefer inaccessible areas where their predators can’t reach them. They’re quite good climbers, so they will often use rocky areas to hide from their many predators. Wild sheep also have horns. Rams have big and bulky horns, so they will use them to defend themselves and the herd.

Another strong survival mechanism for sheep is sticking with their herd. This enables them to support each other and cope with predators.

Rams will naturally protect ewes and lambs, but sometimes, that might not be enough against some potent predators. Sheep are still seen as prey in the wild.

Read Also: Can Sheep Swim?

Which Parts of the World Do Sheep Live In?

sheep

Sheep live on most continents in the world – including the Middle East, Europe, South, and North America, as well as Asia and Africa.

Most wild sheep breeds will prefer to live on higher ground. Some sheep will live in habitats as high as 1200 meters, while some sheep breeds will live in even higher habitats.

They’re well adapted to cold weather and adverse weather, so they will opt to live in these wild habitats.

sheep wool

Most sheep live in higher habitats, such as mountains, hills, plateaus, and open grasslands. They’re adapted to cold weather and wind, which is enabled to them by their thick coats. In mountains, sheep will climb higher areas using their exceptional climbing skills and their agility, keeping them safe from predators.

Some sheep are even found in warmer habitats in Africa. There, they will still seek higher ground because that’s where they feel their most comfortable. Rarely, you’ll find sheep in lower ground, but that will most likely be in open grasslands where they feel comfortable enough to stay safe from predators.

Where Do Domestic Sheep Live?

Bighorn Sheep

Domestic sheep live in sheep farms, or rather, sheep stations, as they are called in some parts of the world such as Australia. Sheep are kept in sheep pens where they will get food and sometimes be released outdoors to feen on the pasture.

Unlike wild sheep, domestic sheep don’t have horns because they don’t need to defend themselves as much as wild sheep. Domestic sheep are kept inside sheep pens, which are used to protect them against predators that roam around sheep farms. However, that might not be enough to keep them safe.

Sheep on a forested hillside
Sheep on a forested hillside

Predation on sheep and attacks on sheep are still very common. Yearly, some farmers might lose dozens of their sheep because of predator attacks. Some of the most common sheep predators are bears, wolves, coyotes, and other wild predators. Most of these predators attack at night.

Domestic sheep are used for their wool and sometimes their milk to make dairy products. The most common dairy products from sheep milk include sheep cheese, cottage cheese, candles, and other similar products. Some sheep are also kept for meat, while other breeders opt to sell their sheep for profit.

Where Do Sheep Live in Australia?

sheep

In Australia, sheep live in the southwestern part of Victora and the southern part of New South Wales. In these areas, sheep are prominent and prefer to live on higher ground.

Sheep in Australia are very common. Some sheep live in the wild, but the majority of the sheep are kept on sheep farms. Australia is known for large-scale sheep farms with hundreds of sheep, and the Australian sheep industry is worth more than $4 billion

The sheep that are bred on Australian farms are primarily used for food. Each year, more than 500.000 tonnes of lamb are produced and almost 200.000 tonnes of mutton in the same time period. Overall, up to 32% of all the meat industry in Australia falls under sheep meat and lamb.

It’s fair to say that sheep are some of the most popular animals kept on Australia farms. They’re ideal for the climates they live in because they’re frugal and not very demanding, and they can deal with adverse weather conditions. But because of the heat, Australian sheep need regular shearing.

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Conclusion

In the wild, sheep live in higher habitats such as mountains and hills where they feel very comfortable. They do well in harsh weather conditions, as they can easily deal with cold weather thanks to their thick coat.

In captivity, sheep are kept and bred on large sheep farms and they’re kept in sheep pens. Sometimes, they mix with other animals, but they prefer to stay in herds, so they’ll prefer to be with other sheep on the farm.

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