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Somali sheep

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Mainly reared for meat production, the Somali sheep is an ancestor of the Blackhead Persian sheep from South Africa. It is one of the main exports of the Somali economy. As well as a distinctive black head, the Somali sheep has a peculiar shape, as it stores fat in its hindquarters. They are hardy and thrive in arid and semi-arid conditions, but can adapt to both hot and cold conditions. As a hair sheep, the Somali sheep will shed its longer hair in the spring and does not require shearing.

Sheep were probably domesticated 8,000 to 9,000 years ago, in southwest Asia, and their wild ancestors still live in the same region. They are farmed on large and small scales in most countries around the globe, being bred for their meat and fleeces.

Conservation status | Not evaluated

Fact Sheet

Scientific name

Ovis aries






8 to 12 years

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