SNAP*Shot: Pronghorn Antelope

The Pronghorn Antelope is a one-of-a-kind ungulate (hoofed animal). They are found only in interior western and central North America with no close relative anywhere in the world. A true native American and the only remaining member of the Antilocapridae family, all others being extinct.

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Pronghorns are not true antelope, which are found only in Africa and southeast Asia. Using the term “antelope” seems to have originated with the Lewis and Clark expeditions in their written descriptions of the animal.

The pronghorn can run at speeds up to 60 mph. Cheetahs can sprint faster, but for sustained speeds no animal in the world is faster than the pronghorn. They are true marathon runners able to maintain speeds of 30 mph for miles.

The females may have small horns, but many times only a bump. The males, however, can have horns 10 to 12 inches long that point back toward their rump.  At the front of the horn is a prong pointing forward, giving them their name pronghorn.

Their horns are unique not only for being pronged, but also because they are a cross between antlers and horns with qualities of both. True antlers are made of bone and true horns are made of compressed keratin (a protein that hair, nails, skin, and horns are made of) that grows from a bony core and is never shed. The horns of a pronghorn, however, have a keratin sheath that sheds annually. This fellow should begin growing his new sheaths very soon.

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Pronghorns are small, standing about 3 feet tall at the shoulder, 4-1/2 feet long, and weighing between 90 and 150 pounds. The females are smaller. It is common for females to have twins in late spring, but this mom only had one daughter earlier this year. Newborns can take their first steps 30 minutes after birth. By four days old they can outrun any human and at one week they can outrun a horse if need be.

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What do I love best about these amazing animals? Their large, beautiful eyes and those killer eyelashes. Our wonderfully unique Pronghorn Antelopes.

4 thoughts on “SNAP*Shot: Pronghorn Antelope

  1. Kathleen Betters says:

    Joy,
    Really enjoyed learning more about the Pronghorn Antelope. Very interesting! Beautiful pictures, as always. My favorite is the third picture. And luv the piece of grass/weed in his jaw! Thank you for sharing.

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