WATCH: Two Bighorn Rams Slam Heads Together Creating Insanely Loud Bang

by Amy Myers
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Between scaling cliffsides and slamming horns with other males, bighorn rams deserve out utmost appreciation for their hardcore lifestyle. Even though they aren’t carnivores, these hooved hellions don’t seem to know the meaning of fear.

Native to our western states, bighorn rams roam the desertlands and mountaintops from South Dakota all the way to Washington and Arizona. Although their social structure is largely based on relationships between females, one of the most recognizable characteristics of these creatures are the cataclysmic face-offs between the males.

Once pre-rut hits, the bighorn rams square up against their rivals and plow forward at speeds of up to 40 miles an hour, clashing their horns together. The gun-shot like sound can be heard up to a mile a way.

Just take a look at this pair. It’s almost like a duel between gentlemen, the way they take a few paces away from each other before barreling forward on their hind legs.

It’s not quite clear which of the males won the challenge since the clip ends a bit early. However, it appears that the ram ending on the right may have been making a careful exit out of the area.

How Can Bighorn Rams Survive Such Brutal Battles?

Despite the earth-shattering clash between these two bighorn rams, neither seems to even register the impact, taking only a moment to recover before going their separate ways.

Even more incredible is the fact that the rams’ horns can weigh up to 30 pounds which is just as much as the rest of the animal’s bones put together. Still, there isn’t so much as a buckle at the knees after the fight ends.

According to Tony Bynum, the wildlife photographer and conservationist behind the insane video, bighorn rams still feel the pain from the battle, but they’ve also developed ways to hide their weakness from competitors as well as lurking predators.

“As for long term head-crashing effects, rams don’t live long enough for those to really show themselves. They also have several things going for them that help to mitigate the damage,” Bynum said in the caption of the @natureismetal post.

He credited their survival to the “bubble wrap effect,” “a mechanism within the skull of the ram that slows down the release of blood back into the body. This results in a higher concentration of blood around the brain, which helps prevent it from rattling around inside the skull and becoming bruised on impact.”

The other reason has to do with the composition of the rams’ horns. Despite their collective weight, a bighorn ram’s horns comprise of keratin, not collagen-like bones or cartilage.

Because of this, the hollowness of the horns creates a larger distance between the brain and skull “from the point of impact.”

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