Fact Check

Bighorn Sheep on Buffalo Bill Dam

Rumor: Photographs show bighorn sheep on the face of the Buffalo Bill Dam in Wyoming.

Published Sep 26, 2010

Claim:   Photographs show bighorn sheep on the face of the Buffalo Bill Dam in Wyoming.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, September 2010]

For those who aren't familiar with the view - it's the downstream face of Buffalo Bill Dam on the Shoshoni River at Cody, Wyoming and those dots are bighorns WALKING ACROSS IT. They're licking the surface - salt, maybe? I'm just sitting here with my mouth hanging open ...

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


Origins:   This photo set is another case in which the overall concept is real, but the finer details have been altered: These pictures of four-legged critters on a dam face are not photographs of bighorn sheep on the Buffalo Bill Dam in Wyoming, but of another type of animal in a very different part of the world: Alpine ibex on the Diga del Cingino
(Cingino Dam) in northern Italy.

The ibex are a type of wild mountain goat which are excellent climbers and typically live in steep, rocky terrain at higher altitudes (up to 15,000 feet above sea level), so the alpine environment of the Diga del Cingino is not an unusual habitat in which to find them.

Additional photographs from this series (and other similar pictures) can be found at web sites such as

MeteoNetwork and Juza Nature Photography. The ibex can also be glimpsed in action (licking minerals off the rock faces) in the following videos:

Last updated:   30 June 2015


    Billings Gazette.   "Are Sheep Scaling the Buffalo Bill Dam?"

    21 September 2010.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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