The Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep is similar in appearance to other desert associated bighorn sheep. The species' coat shows a great deal of color variation, ranging from almost white to fairly dark brown. The belly, rump patch, back of legs, muzzle, and eye patch are all white. Males and females have permanent horns, but they are much larger in males. In females, the horns are slender and sabre-like, never forming more than half a curl. In males, the horns are massive and curl up, back over the ears, then curve down, forward, and up past the cheeks. As the animals age, their horns become rough and scarred, and will vary in color from yellowish-brown to dark brown. In comparison to many other desert bighorn sheep, the horns of the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are generally more divergent as they coil out from the base. Adult male sheep stand up to 1 meter (3 feet) tall at the shoulder; males weigh up to 99 kilograms (220 pounds) and females 63 kilograms (140 pounds).
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