Field Frame Friday: No hiking gear needed here!

In Iceland, sheep (Ovis aries) are allowed to freely roam the countryside to graze throughout the summer, with everyone from farmers to tourists banding together to round the sheep up and bring them back to their respective owners in the fall. These girls, aka the smattering of tiny white dots in the center of this photo, decided to take their summer vacation to Skógafoss, a 197ft tall waterfall in Southern Iceland, for dinner and a view. While a 370 step staircase is provided for humans, these sheep easily ascend the vertical face of the falls thanks to their hoof design, which consists of two padded digits that can move independently to grip rocky surfaces – the human equivalent of hiking boots and a hand-rail rolled into one!

[Photo and caption by Blair Downey]

McCann, L.J. (1956). Ecology of Mountain Sheep. The American Midland Naturalist, 56(2), 297-324.

[Edited by Karli Chudeau]

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