Pronghorns are deer-like mammals that have light-brown fur on their body, a white belly, a white rump, and black markings on their face and neck. Their head and eyes are large and they have a stout body. Males have dark brownish-black horns with anterior prongs. Females have similar horns except that they lack prongs. The forked shape horns of the male pronghorn is unique, no other animal is known to have forked horns. Horns in both sexes grown on top of horn cores—bumps covered in dense white hair. Pronghorns shed their horns each year and re-grow them from the tip of horn core.
Pronghorns are even-toed hoofed mammals. They are the fastest land mammal in North America, able to reach sprints of up to 86 km/hour. Male pronghorns are referred to as bucks, female pronghorn are called does, and young are referred to as fawns.
Pronghorns have very large eyes, in fact, the eyes of a pronghorn are larger than those of an elephant. Their eyes are very dark, an adaptation that enables them to deal with bright sunshine in summer and blinding-white snow in winter that are both characteristic to the plains habitat in which they live (Geist, 2001).
- Mass: 36 to 70 kg (79.2 to 154 lbs)
- Diet: browse, grasses, cacti, forbs
- Mating Season: September–October
- Gestation: 252 days
- Lifespan: 11+ years (in captivity)
- Top Speed: 98 km/hour (61 miles/hour)
There is considerable debate surrounding the classification of pronghorns. Pronghorns are the only living member of the Family Antilocaprida. They are sometimes commonly referred to as antelope but bear no close relation to Old World antelope which belong instead to the Family Bovidae.
Where to See:
Pronghorns inhabit grasslands, scrublands, and some desert habitats. Their range extends from southern Canada (Alberta and Saskatchewan) throughout the western United States into western Sonora, Mexico. They can be seen in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.