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photo: Shaked Buchbout
photo: Flori Van Assen
photo: Shai Ben Ami
photo: zoo archive
Sheep are one of the most important local animals, contributing a variety of products to humans, such as wool, milk, leather, and meat. In our region, sheep became domesticated many years ago and have had a very close connection to the nation. Shepherds hold an important role in many cultures, including the local culture.
Sheep were brought to various locations in the world and today, places such as New Zealand are closely identified with their large flocks of sheep.
At the Biblical Zoo, you can see a number of types of sheep:
Jacob’s sheep: an ancient type probably originating from the Middle East region, identifiable as similar to those of Jacob by its dark spots, and that is how it got its name. Males have 2 – 6 large horns on their heads.
Fat tail sheep
Cameroun sheep: despite its name, this sheep is apparently from the Caribbean islands and not from Africa. It has a brown body, and its fur is relatively short. These sheep developed mainly for their meat.
Scientific Name: Ovis aries
Global Conservation Status: least concern LC
In Israel: least concern LC
At the Zoo: at the children’s petting zoo
In the Bible: The nation’s forefathers were shepherds and went down to Egypt as shepherds: “And Pharaoh said unto his brethren: 'What is your occupation?' And they said unto Pharaoh: 'Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and our fathers.” Genesis, chapter 47, verse 3
From among shepherds, Moses and David were chosen to lead the nation:
“Now therefore thus shalt thou say unto My servant David: Thus saith the LORD of hosts: I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, that thou shouldest be prince over My people Israel; “ Chronicles 1, chapter 17, verse 7
Habitat and Distribution: the various types of sheep were all from the one specie originally domesticated in central Asia.
Body Structure: Various types of sheep have varying body types, colors, and volume of wool. Males have 2 – 6 horns on their heads, and females do not have horns.
Diet: vegetarian, eating grass and vegetation
Social Structure: flocks
Activity cycle: active during the day
Threats in the wild: