Expert babysitters

Raising kids is a hard job, but bighorn sheep and pronghorn have a creative way of sharing the load. While most of the herd is off eating, one or a few females will watch over “nursery groups” that can have as many as 20 youngsters. Because lambs and fawns are an easy meal for predators, the babysitting female has the unenviable job of keeping an eye on all those rambunctious, clumsy, but tasty kids. Sharing the babysitting load is just one example of how group living can be beneficial for many species of ungulates.

 

Description by Rhiannon Jakopak. Illustration by Tayler LaSharr.
A female pronghorn watches over a herd of young pronghorn.
Young pronghorn (called fawns!) are cute, but not as careful as they should be. A watchful female keeps her eyes out for any sight of danger!