Sheep have been one of the highly prized domesticated animals in many cultures around the world. They bring many uses to humans including the use of their coats, milk and as a food source.
Fun Sheep Facts for Kids:
- Sheep are herbivores, which means they eat plants, vegetables and grasses.
- Sheep typically exist in grassy plains and mountains and are believed to have originated in Asia and Europe. Sheep were domesticated and brought to other areas of the world and are very common in Australia and the Americas.
- Sheep are incredibly intelligent and have the ability to do simple problem solving. They are compared to the same intellectual level as dogs.
- Sheep also have incredible memories. They can remember fellow sheep as well as humans for many years.
- The biggest snake fossil ever found is the ‘Titanoboa’. The snake lived sixty billion years ago at a length of 15 meters (50 ft.).
- Only one of the snake species actually builds a nest for their young. That is the King Cobra. 70% of snakes lay eggs and the others give birth to live young.
- Snakes are meat-eaters and are therefore carnivores. While some view them as pests, they are critical in keeping the balance of nature so that rodents don’t become overpopulated.
Sheep, like some other creatures, have the ability to display emotions. They use the positioning of their ears, facial expressions and various vocalizations to express emotions.
- When a sheep becomes ill they will seek out specific plants to self-medicate.
- A female sheep is called a ‘ewe’ and forms a very tight bond with her baby. A mother sheep will be able to recognize her young from their own unique call or ‘bleat’.
- Sheep are social animals and love being in a group. From birth, they are very independent, playful and sometimes mischievous.
Ancient Egyptians believed that sheep were a sacred animal and when they died they would often mummify them in the same way as humans.
Ancient Sumerians existed 4,000-2,000 BCE and were the culture that is thought to have developed the first writing forms. They believed the sheep were one of their gods.
In the Chinese Zodiac, the sheep is represented as one of their symbols. Those people born in the year of the sheep are thought to be born with traits of compassion, sincerity, gentleness and righteousness.
Domesticated sheep are typically smaller than wild sheep. Wild sheep also have horns that they use for protection and predator defense. The largest breed of wild sheep is the Argali which averages 1.2 m tall.
In many parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, sheep are used for scientific experimentation.