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Perl Cookbook by Nathan Torkington, Tom Christiansen

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Colophon

The animal featured on the cover of Perl Cookbook is a bighorn sheep. Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) are wild sheep noted, not surprisingly, for their large, curved horns. Male bighorns grow to approximately 5 feet long and 40 inches tall to the shoulder and weigh up to 350 pounds. Their horns measure up to 18 inches in circumference and 4 feet long and can weigh up to 30 pounds. Despite their bulk, bighorns are adept at negotiating mountainous terrains. With their sharp, cloven hooves they can walk on ledges as thin as two inches. They have excellent eyesight that enables them to locate footholds and to accurately judge distances between ledges. They can jump as far as 20 feet from ledge to ledge.

Competition for ewes is intense and often leads to fierce battles that can continue for a full day. During the battle two rams race at each other at speeds of up to 20 miles an hour, clashing their horns together. The skull of the bighorn sheep is double-layered to provide protection from these blows. Horn size is a significant factor in determining rank, and rams will only fight other rams with an equivalently sized horn. Mature males usually stay apart from the females and young. In these “bachelor flocks” the lower-ranking males often play the part of ewes and behave in a submissive manner toward the dominant males. The dominant male, in turn, behaves like a courting ram and mounts the lower-ranking male. This behavior is believed to enable the rams to live together without ...

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